Posted: Thursday, June 02, 2011 11:00 AM
Senator threatened to withhold support for other bills
By MITCH LIES
SALEM -- In a case of the resolution that wouldn't die, Oregon lawmakers have designated Jory soil Oregon's official state soil.
After the Senate on May 19 shot down an attempt to designate Jory Oregon's official soil, lawmakers brought back to life House Concurrent Resolution 3 and passed it May 23.
Sen. Larry George, R-Sherwood, said the reconsideration and later passage of the resolution came down to a political maneuver.
George said in a press release a legislator threatened to withhold support for more substantive bills if the Senate failed to pass the resolution.
The resolution is sponsored by Rep. Mitch Greenlick, D-Portland, co-chair of the House Health Committee.
It previously passed the House 47-12.
"This one measure is an example of the way this Legislature is operating, and it is a broken process," George said in a press release May 23. "One member has hijacked the entire process by holding good policy bills hostage, all to demand passage of a pet bill with zero policy impact."
Greenlick said he got behind the bill after talking to a friend who is a descendant of the Jory family.
"I thought it was an important piece to highlight the importance of the ag economy to Oregon's overall economy," Greenlick said. Crops such as Christmas trees, pears, hazelnuts and winegrapes are grown in the soil.
Sen. Alan Olsen, R-Canby, in a floor speech May 19 encouraged lawmakers to get their hands dirty and vote for the Jory soil designation.
But his encouragement wasn't enough to overcome objections in the first vote.
Sen. Fred Girod, R-Stayton, said the Legislature had better things to do than designate a state soil.
Sen. Jeff Kruse, R-Roseburg, said the soil, which is named after the pioneering Jory family, is "incredibly marginal" and shouldn't be the state soil.
Sen. Chris Telfer, R-Bend, said the red-clay soil found on about 300,000 acres in Western Oregon doesn't represent the geography of Oregon.
Senators shot down the resolution 18-11.
Later, however, senators voted to reconsider, and on May 23, the Senate approved it 18-12.
HCR3 does not need the governor's signature to become official.
Lawmakers previously this session named Reedsport the chainsaw carving capital of Oregon.
A proposal to name the Happy Canyon Indian Pageant and Wild West Show the official state outdoor pageant and wild west show passed the Senate 27-1 March 8 and is scheduled for a House vote June 10.
An effort to name the border collie Oregon's official state dog failed to clear a Senate committee.