Monday, January 17, 2022

Gomberg: Getting Our District Back to Work

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Dear Friends and Neighbors,

Much of the Central Coast and Coast Range may be starting back to work today.

I’m going to talk about details in a moment. But first I have a few thoughts to share.

Two months ago we faced this pandemic with a sense that we were all in it together. But as I said last week, now we appear to be divided. We’re angry that our businesses or jobs are at risk. We’re angry that we haven’t yet received money we deserve. We’re angry that other people may be putting our vulnerable family members at risk. And increasingly we seem angry at each other.

I’ve seen contentious public meetings and confrontations in parking lots. I’ve seen new neighbors’ cars vandalized because they don’t yet have Oregon license plates. I’ve seen businesses purposely violate public orders to gain advantage over others following the rules. I’ve seen the glares between the masked and the unmasked in grocery stores.

If I have learned anything in my time in the Legislature, it is that good people don’t always agree. The Coast is known for our hospitality. We need to remember to show that hospitality to each other.

If you are opening a business, please do so as safely and responsibly as possible. To do less is to risk closures again. And if you feel unsafe, please stay home and minimize contact with others. I look for the best in people and usually find it. Let’s get through this – together – by respecting each other and responding as a community.

And now the news…

Oregon Reopens:

Early Thursday, Governor Brown announced the phase one re-opening of 28 counties including Lincoln, Tillamook, and Yamhill Counties. Restaurants, bars, and taverns can open. Retail stores can reopen. Barbers, salons, and tattoo parlors can reopen.

Each must apply safety measures and social distancing: retail | restaurants and bars | salons and personal services | outdoor recreation | sporting events | large gatherings, including concerts and festivals

Phase One reopening requirements

Large gatherings and events are still not permitted. Hotels, campgrounds, and vacation rentals may remained closed by local cities and counties. Schools are not reopening, and Governor Brown said current planning is aimed at ensuring kids can reenter school next fall.

For the most up to date information, please bookmark the official reopening website and check it often.

All of us have a stake in the success of required safety measures. First they are designed to keep us and people we come in contact with healthy. And second, if not successful and if infections increase, our counties can again be closed.

The responsibility for checking that businesses are following guidelines rests with local law enforcement and Oregon Occupational Safety and Health, as well as other state agencies depending on the type of business.

COVID infection rates graph

Statewide Reopenings: On May 7, Governor Brown announced Reopening Oregon, her plan for restarting public life and business. This included the statewide lifting of certain restrictions, some new statewide guidance, and a phased process for county-by-county reopening of other businesses and facilities.

  • As of May 1, medical and dental clinics were permitted to offer non-emergency procedures.
  • As of May 5, outdoor recreation areas where physical distancing could be maintained were allowed to open.
  • Statewide restrictions on stand-alone furniture stores, art galleries, jewelry shops and boutiques will be lifted today.
  • Statewide restrictions on childcare facilities, summer school, camps and youth programs will be lifted today.
  • A new statewide requirement that employees in businesses where physical distancing cannot be maintained must wear a face-covering. These include grocery stores, pharmacies, public transit, salons/personal services, and ridesharing services.
  • A strong recommendation that face-coverings be worn by everyone in any indoor public space, especially where six feet of distance cannot be maintained.

Vulnerable populations should still stay at home as much as possible. There has been no change in the guidance to limit visits to nursing homes and hospitals. Stay home if you’re sick. Limit nonessential travel, including travel from ‘closed’ counties to ‘open’ counties for services. Keep up hygiene and sanitation. And telework if possible. The state has seen a rising number of COVID-19 cases and an increase in the percentage of tests coming back positive. That could give Oregon pause.

Only time will tell whether Oregon’s reopening was timely or too hasty. But a look at how Oregon compares with other states helps explain why Governor Brown is comfortable pushing forward. Compared with many other states venturing back out, Oregon is in relatively good shape.

COVID infection rates chart

Potential Budget Impacts: The state revenue forecast will be released on May 20 and the outlook is grim. With people not working, income tax revenue will decline. With people not driving, gas taxes will decline. Lottery dollars and lodging taxes are obviously down as well.

With early projections of a possible shortfall as deep as $3 billion for the current period, balancing the state budget will require difficult choices. Governor Brown has requested that state agencies provide proposals to reduce their respective budgets by 17% for the upcoming fiscal year that starts July 1. These budget reduction lists provide a window into a worst-case scenario for our state. But no cuts have been made at this point and these lists are not final.

Thanks to prudent fiscal management, Oregon is the most prepared it has ever been for a recession. Our state has saved about $1.5 billion in reserve funds to help stabilize our schools and other critical services during an economic downturn. By using a portion of these reserve funds to protect key programs, we can reduce the level of cuts needed to schools, health care, transportation, and public safety.

In times of crisis, Oregonians rely on state services more than ever. Cutting state services will be a last resort. I will do all I can in the coming weeks and months to find creative solutions to minimize impacts on the critical services that Oregonians are counting on, including health care and education.

Finally, later today I will join a meeting to the Emergency Board and vote on proposals to allocate $1.39 billion in federal funds to offset state COVID expenses, reimburse cities, counties, and tribes, fund new programs, and enhance our reserves.

You can watch this meeting starting at 1 pm at

Stay safe, stay well, get a good mask, and let’s safely get back to work!

Warm Regards,

Representative David Gomberg
House District 10

House Rep. David Gomberg
David Gomberg (D-Otis) represents House District 10, which includes Yachats, north to Tillamook along the coast, and inland as far as Sheridan and Falls City to the east.

Welcome to the comments section. Feel free to speak your mind about topics raised in this article, but please be civil to your fellow humans.


  1. I’d limit my complaints about the casino, which was the first business to
    close in Lincoln City, unlike the greedy city, who continued to let tourists
    from virus valley swarm all over town, rent vrds, prance through Safeway
    and basically put all of us at risk. And I’m never going to feel the same about tourists after all this, and had a somewhat negative view about tourism after my neighborhood was LAID TO WASTE by Olivia Beach and it’s vrd zoned subdivision. And I don’t particularly care being in the store, while I can barely breathe through a mask because I have emphysema, and having to negotiate through isles and avoid people who just don’t give a [email protected] Your rights END where my safety begins,
    and go and find out how far I’ll put up with your civil rights crap.

  2. The casino in Lincoln City is opening May 21st. They will allow only 1,000 people in at a time. Please tell me how this business is able to open under these guideline? Are they going to be fined because they have over 25 people in their establishment? It seems to me that the casino is a breeding ground for this virus so why are they opening up under phase one?

  3. This was the ruling of the United States Supreme Court shortly after the “Civil War” in Ex parte Milligan, 71 U.S. 2 (1866) which yet stands to this day:
    “The Constitution for the United States is a law for rulers and people equally in war and in peace…at all times, and under all circumstances. No doctrine…was ever invented… then that any of its provisions can be suspended during any of the exigencies [emergencies/urgencies] of government.”
    pp. 120-121
    “…there is no law for the government of the citizens, the armies or the navy of the United States, within American jurisdiction, which is not contained in or derived from the Constitution.”
    p. 141
    In 16 American Jurisprudence 2d, a legal encyclopedia of United States law, suspension of the Constitution is prohibited, as follows:
    “It is sometimes argued that the existence of an emergency allows the existence and operation of powers, national or state, which violate the inhibitions of the Federal Constitution. The rule is quite otherwise. NO emergency justifies the violation of any of the provisions of the United States Constitution.”
    Section 71
    “…Neither the legislature nor any executive or judicial officer may disregard the provisions of the Constitution in case of an emergency…”
    Section 98
    Therefore, ANYONE who declares the suspension of constitutionally guaranteed rights (to freely travel, peaceably assemble, earn a living, freely worship, etc.) and/or attempts to enforce such suspension within the 50 independent, sovereign, continental United States of America is making war against our constitution(s) and, therefore, we, the people. They violate their constitutional oath and, thus, immediately forfeit their office and authority and their proclamations may be disregarded with impunity and that means ANYONE; even the Governor and President!
    “A law repugnant to the Constitution is void. An act of Congress repugnant to the Constitution cannot become a law. The Constitution supersedes all other laws and the individual’s rights shall be liberally enforced in favor of him, the clearly intended and expressly designated beneficiary.” – Marbury vs. Madison, 5 U.S. 137 (SCOTUS—1803)
    “An unconstitutional law is void and is as no law. An offense created by it is not crime. A conviction under it is not merely erroneous but is illegal and void and cannot be used as a legal cause of imprisonment.” – Ex parte Siebold, 100 U.S. 371 (SCOTUS—1879)
    “An unconstitutional act is not law. It confers no rights; it imposes no duties; affords no protection; it creates no office. It is, in legal contemplation, as inoperative as though it had never been passed.” – Norton vs. Shelby County, 118 U.S. 425 (SCOTUS—1886)
    “Where rights secured by the Constitution are involved, there can be no rule-making or legislation which would abrogate them.” – Miranda vs. Arizona, 384 U.S. 436 (SCOTUS—1966)
    “The general misconception is that any statute passed by legislators bearing the appearance of law constitutes the law of the land. The U.S. Constitution is the supreme law of the land, and any statue, to be valid, must be in agreement.
    It is impossible for both the Constitution and a law violating it to be valid; one must prevail. This is succinctly stated as follows: The general rule is that an unconstitutional statute, though having the form and name of the law, is, in reality, no law, but is wholly void, and ineffective for any purpose; since unconstitutionality dates from the time of its enactment, and not merely from the date of the decision so branding it.
    An unconstitutional law, in legal contemplation, is as inoperative as if it had never been passed. Such a statute leaves the question that it purports to settle just as it would be had the statute not been enacted.
    “Since an unconstitutional law is void, the general principals follow that it imposes no duties, confers no rights, creates no office, bestows no power or authority on anyone, affords no protection, and justifies no acts performed under it…A void act cannot be legally consistent with a valid one. An unconstitutional law cannot operate to supersede any existing valid law. Indeed, insofar as a statute runs counter to the fundamental law of the land, it superseded thereby. No one is bound to obey an unconstitutional law and no courts are bound to enforce it.” – 16 American Jurisprudence 2d, Sec. 177
    “No one is bound to obey an unconstitutional law, and no courts are bound to enforce it. The general rule is that an unconstitutional statute, whether federal or state, though having the form and name of the law, is, in reality, no law, but is wholly void and ineffective for any purpose since unconstitutionality dates from the time of its enactment, and not merely from the date of the decision so branding it.”


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