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The OAN Member Update: A weekly report to the members of the Oregon Association of Nurseries. Topics covered include plant diseases, immigration law, invasive species, land use issues, regulatory issues, employment matters, OAN events and services and much more.


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Oregon OSHA proposes up to 150-foot exclusion zone for some pesticide applications

Posted By Beth Farmer, Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Hearings set for this Wednesday and Thursday in Woodburn

Oregon Occupational Safety and Health Administration (Oregon OSHA) is accepting comments from now through December 15 on proposed new state regulations that would apply to the application of pesticides in agricultural settings.

There are two opportunities to comment on this rulemaking this Wednesday and Thursday in Woodburn, as well as three later hearings elsewhere in the state. Comments can also be sent by letter, FAX or email. All comments are due December 15.

Background and details

The U.S. Worker Protection Standard lays out safety standards that must be followed whenever pesticides are applied. This federal standard recently was revised, with changes set to take effect January 1.

Oregon is the only state that imposes its own Worker Protection Standard on top of the federal requirements. Currently, Oregon OSHA is proposing revised regulations of its own, in the form of application exclusion zones (AEZ's) that are larger than federal rules require. AEZ's must be closed to entry by anyone not wearing personal protective equipment.

The entity applying the pesticide would have to advance notify the occupants of any structure that would be within the zone buffer during application. Zones would be as follows:

  • 150-foot AEZ for products that require respiratory personal protective equipment, when applied by aircraft or with an air blast sprayer, or when the droplet size is smaller than medium.
  • 100-foot AEZ for products that DON'T require respiratory personal protective equipment PPE, when applied by aircraft or with an air blast sprayer, or when the droplet size is smaller than medium.
  • 25-foot AEZ for any product sprayed more than 12 inches above the planting medium using a droplet size of medium or larger. This does not include aerial or air blast applications.
  • No AEZ for products applied less than 12 inches above the planting medium using a droplet size of medium or larger.

In a departure from federal requirements, Oregon's rules would allow the applying entity to provide occupants the option to shelter in place for situations that require up to a 100-foot AEZ, instead of departing the premises. They would have to instruct occupants to close doors and windows and turn off air intakes, and explain how to secure doors and windows and protect personal and household items.

OAN position

The Oregon Association of Nurseries opposes the new rules because although the association is concerned for the safety of workers, these rules would add to the regulatory burden that growers face, without providing added safety. They are based on a misconception that pesticides requiring respiratory protection are somehow more dangerous than other pesticides.

However, the OAN supports the shelter-in-place option, as that will provide greater safety than if people leave and then return to an applied area.

Public hearings

Comments on the proposed rules are being accepted online as well as through public hearings. Two of the hearings will take place this week in Woodburn:

  • Wednesday, November 15, CAPACES Leadership Institute, 356 Young St., Woodburn, Oregon. Hearing begins at 6 p.m.
  • Thursday, November 16, Woodburn Grange, 908 N. Settlemeier Ave., Woodburn, Oregon. Hearing begins at 11 a.m.

Of the five hearings scheduled statewide between now and December 5, these are the only two that will take place in the Willamette Valley. There will be three others in late November and early December, elsewhere in the state:

  • Wednesday, November 29, Pine Grove Grange, 2835 Van Horn Drive, Hood River, Oregon. Hearing begins at 10 a.m.
  • Tuesday, December 5, Medford Public Library, Carpenter Conference Room, 205 S. Central Ave., Medford, Oregon. Two hearings. One begins at 11 a.m. Another hearing will be held in the same location, same day, beginning at 6 p.m.

Written comments

Those who prefer to submit their comments by letter or email, rather than by hearing, may direct them as follows:

Department of Consumer and Business Services/Oregon OSHA
350 Winter Street NE
Salem OR 97301-3882
E-mail –
Fax – 503-947-7461

For more information

Other resources

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OAN announces ‘Friends of Nurseries’ awards for 2017

Posted By Beth Farmer, Tuesday, November 14, 2017

The Oregon Association of Nurseries has announced five winners of the annual Friends of Nurseries awards. These awards serve to recognize state and federal elected official and critical agency personnel who are solution oriented, who consider the nursery and greenhouse point of view, and who act as a partner, regardless of party affiliation.

The winners for 2017 are:

  • Katy Coba, director of the Oregon Department of Administrative Services. Prior to her appointment to this post by Gov. Kate Brown, Coba served as director of the Oregon Department of Agriculture from 2003–2016. A key ally to the nursery industry, Coba was instrumental in resolving the prenotification rule instituted by the USDA and worked with the association to maintain market access for domestic and international sales.
  • State Sens. Tim Knopp (R-Bend) and Kathleen Taylor (D-Portland). Senators Knopp and Taylor serve in leadership for the Senate Committee on Workforce. In this role, they carefully weighed the impact of proposed workforce policies on the nursery and greenhouse industry. In particular they listened carefully regarding the impact of predictive scheduling on growers and retailers. As a result, the final version of the legislation was not harmful for the nursery industry.
  • State Rep. Ken Helm (D-Beaverton). Rep. Helm helped lead a coalition of water users and advocates during the 2017 Legislature. He was a quick study in learning about the nursery and greenhouse industry and worked to balance his personal political objectives with the health of the agricultural industry. Helm serves on the Natural Resource Subcommittee of the Joint Ways and Means Committee, which fully funded critical state nursery programs that are provided by the Oregon Department of Agriculture and OSU Extension. He's on the House Committee on Economic Development and Trade and also serves as chair of the Committee on Energy and the Environment, where the policy bills relating to water, pesticides and pollinators are assigned.
  • U.S. Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-Oregon). After years of trying to get funding for the final phase of the smart sprayer research project, Sen. Merkley secured funding for this game-changing technology, which was a top priority for OAN. He also took a leadership role on sudden oak death, working with the nursery and forestry industries to secure federal dollars for research on the issue and dollars to match state efforts. Always accessible during the association's trips to Washington, D.C., Sen. Merkley has proven himself to be a partner to the nursery and greenhouse industry.

In addition to the five Friends of Nurseries awards, the OAN announced a New Legislator of the Year award, which was given to State Rep. Karin Power (D-Milwaukie).

Rep. Power has jumped in with both feet to learn about the nursery and greenhouse industry. Whether it is taking tours of numerous member operations or listening to concerns relating to water, environment and regulatory issues, Rep. Power has shown herself to be solution oriented and open to the nursery perspective.

She serves on Natural Resources Subcommittee of Ways and Means, which funds programs important to agriculture. She also serves as vice-chair to the House Committee on Energy and Environment, where many of OAN's water and environmental bills are considered, and the House Committee on Judiciary, where any immigration-related bills would be assigned. Power has demonstrated a keen mind and deserves recognition as a freshman legislator with a balanced perspective and demonstrated interest in the green industry.

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OAN members to vote on bylaw revisions

Posted By Beth Farmer, Wednesday, September 20, 2017

At the 2017 OAN Convention, members will have the opportunity to vote on bylaw revisions that are intended to modernize the association's governance structure. The most significant change would call for representation on the OAN Board of Directors based on industry segments, rather than geographic regions.

"To be effective, the OAN needs to make sure it is representing the wishes of the industry, and Oregon's nursery industry is very diverse in terms of production types and retail versus wholesale," OAN President Mark Bigej said. "That's why we recommend implementing a board structure that makes sure every segment of the industry is represented in the decision making."

The changes were recommended initially by a Board Composition Task Force that Leigh Geschwill appointed during her year as OAN president (2015–16). The Task Force was led by Bigej, who was serving as president-elect at the time.

After the task force made its recommendations, they were discussed at last year's OAN Convention. Following input from members and approval from the OAN Board of Directors, the recommendations were translated into specific bylaw language. The board approved the specific bylaw changes at its September meeting and agreed to forward them to the membership for final approval.

Under the OAN bylaws, all members in attendance at the Annual Meeting, which takes place at the OAN Convention on November 4, shall be eligible to vote.

Members have several ways of learning more about the proposed changes:

  • The Board Composition Task Force report can be downloaded here.
  • The bylaw changes can be downloaded for review here .
  • A recent memo to the Board of Directors can be downloaded here.
  • A mailing soon will be sent to all OAN members detailing all the changes, including a comparison of the language before and after.
  • A webinar will take place sometime in October, where they can hear presentations on the changes and have the opportunity to submit questions. Watch for details.
  • A landing page with all of these materials has been created at

Different segments would be represented on the board, based on each segment's proportional size within the Oregon nursery industry, as determined by USDA statistics.

"Some have asked what this means for the chapters," Bigej said. "We want them to be as vital as possible. It's just that they would no longer be the source of board representatives. We found that directors from industry segments would be more representative."

The number of seats per industry segment could change over time as the industry changes. Initially, there would be 10 industry representatives on the board — two greenhouse operators, one retailer, one associate member, and six nursery growers.

The six nursery growers would consist of three container growers, two field grown/bare root growers, and one field grown/ball and burlap grower. Each would serve two-year terms, but during the first year of phase-in, some would serve for one year so that terms would be staggered.

All of these directors would be suggested by a nominating committee, nominated by the board and elected by member ballot. A board nominee qualified in more than one industry segment would be eligible to represent any of those segments.

In addition to the 10 directors representing industry segments, the board would continue to include seven Executive Committee members as it does currently. They include a president, president-elect, vice president, secretary, treasurer, past president and member at large. The president-elect, vice president, secretary and treasurer are elected each year; the president-elect becomes president the next year; the president becomes past president; and the member at large is appointed by the incoming president.

Other proposed revisions would update the bylaws to bring them in line with current Oregon law.

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Applications due by 7/31 for Oregon Governor’s Natural Resources Office

Posted By Beth Farmer, Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Oregon Gov. Kate Brown’s Executive Appointments Office is now accepting applications for board and commission service with the Natural Resources Office. The governor is looking for well-qualified, thoughtful, collaborative Oregonians who have a statewide perspective and who reflect the diversity of Oregon, including rural communities, geographic diversity, gender, race and ethnic diversity, and diversity of knowledge and experience. Applicants must also demonstrate commitment to attend and productively participate in all meetings. Some boards and commissions have specific statutory requirements.

Available posts are as follows:

Some appointments require Senate confirmation, and others do not. For Senate-confirmed appointments, interest forms are due July 31 for the September 2017 Senate Rules Committee meeting.

To apply, complete and submit an interest form (PDF), a statement of interest, and a resume of your work and volunteer experience and educational background. Email completed forms to

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Officials vow to resist immigration executive order

Posted By Beth Farmer, Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Oregon Gov. Kate Brown, Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler and other officials announced they will defy an executive order that President Trump issued last week regarding immigration enforcement.

Trump’s order states that federal grants will be withheld from so-called “sanctuary cities,” which include Portland, Beaverton and several other Oregon cities. However, in an op-ed published in The Oregonian, Wheeler stated that the 10th Amendment allows state and local governments to decide whether or not to use their own resources to enforce federal laws. Further, he stated that Oregon’s sanctuary law (Chapter 181A, Section 820), passed in 1987, “prohibits state and local police from enforcing federal immigration law if a person is not involved in criminal activity.”

“We do not harbor criminals,” Wheeler stated in the op-ed, “but we will not aid in the deportation of our neighbors whose only offense is being undocumented.”

If Trump and Brown both act as they have indicated, it means that immigrants can expect to see greater enforcement efforts from federal agents, but state and local police will not be attempting to identify or apprehend people strictly for being undocumented.

The order came at the same time as Trump also ordered a wall to be built along the Mexican border, which will require funding from Congress as well as extensive private property takings from farmers and ranchers. According to OAN Executive Director Jeff Stone, the orders and the reactions to them illustrated the problems inherent in pursuing an enforcement-only approach to immigration reform.

“When people talk about the enforcement-first approach, it creates fear and uncertainty in the immigrant community as well as among businesses,” Stone said. “As presidents have changed, our views have remained the same. We are about solutions, not politics, and we’re about issues, not parties. That means working with Congress and the administration to achieve comprehensive reform. This administration is not much more than a week old, and a lot can happen in four years.”

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OAN to involve members in legislative session

Posted By Beth Farmer, Wednesday, February 1, 2017

As the Oregon Legislature convenes today for its 2017 session, the nursery industry will be represented, as always, by the professional OAN Government Relations Team, but this year, Government Relations Chair Leigh Geschwill has placed an added emphasis on adding grower voices to the process.


A special workshop was held last week at the OAN office. Members received instruction on how the process works and how they can be effective citizen lobbyists.


“The great advantage you all have is, you are all real,” OAN Executive Director Jeff Stone told those in attendance. “Say who you are; say what you do. Everything you say after that, you are experts in your field.”


The testimony of members may well be needed. Budgetary concerns and a possible transportation-funding package are expected to dominate the proceedings. The state has a projected $1.8 billion budget shortfall (despite record revenue), not including the money needed for any transportation projects. Legislators may fill that gap and then some with a $5 billion funding package similar to Measure 97, which was just defeated in November.


Bills concerning employment mandates, environmental regulation, the right to farm and water supplies will also be discussed and may get traction.


The Democratic majority is proposing several employment mandates that will add costs or administrative burdens, or both, for businesses.


Mandated predictable scheduling would require certain employers (retail, hospitality and service sector) to provide shift information 14 days in advance.


Paid family leave would require employers to pay a percentage of payroll to cover the costs of this new mandate.


In terms of paid sick leave, that mandate was added in 2015, but there are proposals backed by the OAN Farm Bureau and others to fix problems. One would align piece-rate pay with legislative intent, and another would exempt family members from the employee count at farms when it comes to determining the size of employer.


There are also environmental proposals of some concern.


One bill would strip pesticides out of the existing right-to-farm protections and expose growers to frivolous lawsuits.


Another would allow local governments to prohibit genetically engineered crops, opening the door to rules that could vary based on city or county.


A third bill would add an annual $100 fee on each water right held in the state, capped at $1,000 for non-municipal providers holding more than one right.


Watch the Member Update for information on developing issues. Action Alerts will be sent when direct member input and testimony to legislators is needed.


“Our team will continue to track bills as they work their way through the process,” Stone said. “Often, we can stop adverse legislation before it gathers momentum, and we will hope to do that again this year.”

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Six to join Oregon Nurseries Hall of Fame

Posted By Beth Farmer, Wednesday, January 25, 2017

The Oregon Nurseries Hall of Fame will welcome four individuals and one couple to its ranks at a special Hall of Fame installation banquet Wednesday, February 22 at the Holiday Inn in Wilsonville. Doors will open at 6 p.m. for a reception, followed by dinner and program starting at 6:45 p.m.

All people engaged in the nursery industry or agriculture are invited to attend. Tickets are $80 per person or $640 for a table of eight — including appetizers, drink ticket, dinner and wine — and may be purchased at

The Oregon Nurseries Hall of Fame was established in 1991 by the Oregon Association of Nurseries. Its purpose is to recognize those individuals instrumental in the development of the Oregon nursery industry, who have brought credit and recognition to the industry, or who have had a profound historical impact on the industry. Being enshrined this year are:

  • Jack Bigej, owner of Al's Garden Center;
  • Dick Joyce, owner of Joyce Farms;
  • Ray Klupenger, owner of Klupenger Nursery;
  • Bruce Usrey, CEO of Monrovia Nursery Company; and
  • Glenn and Viola Walters, founders of Glenn Walters Nursery.

"Our industry was built on great families, innovative thinkers and strong connections," OAN Executive Director Jeff Stone said. "The Hall of Fame will be a very special evening to celebrate just a few of the many key leaders whose hard work and groundbreaking ingenuity made Oregon's nursery industry both influential and successful."

Some 39 members of the Oregon nursery industry were previously enshrined, with the most recent (Jim and Shirley Heater and Clint Smith) coming in 2006. The complete list can be viewed at

Bigej took over the family business from his father, Al Bigej, and grew it into a retail nursery empire with three retail stores, four growing facilities and an upcoming fourth retail location. He served as OAN president in 1993. He was made an OAN Honorary Life Member in 2004. Jack's son, Mark, is following in his footsteps by serving as OAN president in the current year.

Joyce owns Joyce Farms and is noted for his lifetime of service to the Oregon nursery industry. He served as OAN president in 1983 and has remained active on numerous committees. He was made an OAN Honorary Life Member in 2003.

Klupenger joined the family business, Klupenger's Nursery, in 1959 and served decades in various roles. He served as OAN president in 1972 and was one of the founders of the Farwest Trade Show. His father, Joe, was part of the initial Hall of Fame class in 1991.

Usrey worked with Monrovia for nearly five decades in many roles, including president and CEO. He managed the company's expansion, including the addition of a growing location in Dayton, Oregon. He passed away in 2015.

After learning the nursery business at George Teufel's Holly Farm, Glenn and Viola Walters established Glenn Walters Nursery in 1948. Under their leadership it became one of the most influential and successful nurseries in Oregon. Glenn passed away in 2010 and Viola followed him in 2015.

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OAN stands behind the immigrant community

Posted By Beth Farmer, Tuesday, January 17, 2017

The OAN was one of 60 business, faith, labor and immigrant rights organizations taking part in Saturday’s United for Immigrant Rights rally and march at the Oregon State Capitol Building in Salem. OAN Executive Director Jeff Stone was among the invited speakers, along with U.S. Sen. Ron Wyden and U.S. Rep. Kurt Schrader.


“There is a simple truth: we are a nation of immigrants,” Stone said. “In America, every immigrant class that has come to our country has made it better. One of our most enduring symbols, the Statue of Liberty, embodies a great torch of freedom that welcomes the world to our shores. It is through this tapestry of human diversity that we build an American economy that rewards hard work, values family and fuels growth.”


Stone said that immigrants add value to the Oregon economy, as illustrated by a report issued last August by the Partnership for a New American Economy. It is called The Contributions of New Americans in Oregon (PDF).


The report shows that immigrants pull their weight. They make up 10 percent of Oregon’s population and in 2014, they contributed $2.4 billion in taxes, or 10 percent of the total from all taxpayers. That same year, they earned $9.9 billion, or 9 percent of all earnings in the state. Immigrants also make up 11 percent of all entrepreneurs in the state and play a major role in fields related to science, technology, engineering and math (often called STEM fields).


The rally was organized in part due to concern about the incoming administration and its promises to implement an enforcement-only approach to the immigration issue, including an expensive border wall. “I want to reaffirm our commitment to the immigrant community,” Stone said. “We stand side by side with our labor, faith and immigrant rights friends.”

A selection of photos from the rally can be viewed on Facebook.

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Transportation committee kicks off nine-city tour in Salem — tonight!

Posted By Beth Farmer, Wednesday, May 25, 2016

The Oregon Legislature's Joint Committee on Transportation Preservation and Modernization announced the schedule for a series of nine meetings to discuss state and local transportation needs with community leaders and the public across the state. The committee will hold its first meeting at 5:15 p.m. Wednesday, May 25 at the Oregon State Capitol (900 Court St. NE, Salem).

The OAN encourages members to attend these meetings and make their voices heard. "Getting product to market is critical," OAN Executive Director Jeff Stone said. "Unfortunately, the state's outdated transportation infrastructure is hindering that process."

"Oregon's highways, bridges, ports, and rail connections need repair and modernization," committee co-chair Rep. Caddy McKeown (D-Coos Bay) said. "These meetings will give our committee members an opportunity to listen to Oregonians from across the state identify local transportation needs, and to build support for a comprehensive plan that will keep our economy moving and build a brighter future for Oregon."

After the first meeting in Salem, subsequent tour stops include:

June 13, 5 p.m.
Great Hall, Mount Tabor Building
Portland Community College SE Campus
2305 SE 82nd Ave., Portland

June 28, 5 p.m.
Four Rivers Cultural Center Theater
Treasure Valley Community College
676 College Blvd., Ontario

June 29, 2 p.m.
Hermiston High School Auditorium
600 South First St., Hermiston

July 20, 5 p.m.
Prince Lucian Campbell Hall Room 180
University of Oregon
1415 Kincaid St., Eugene

August 18, 5:30 p.m.
Wille Hall, Coats Campus Center
Central Oregon Community College
2600 NW College Way, Bend

August 31, 5 p.m.
Jackson County Library
Medford Branch
205 S. Central Ave., Medford

September 15, 5 p.m.
Embarcadero Hotel
1000 SE Bay Blvd., Newport

September 19, 5 p.m.
Shirley Huffman Auditorium
Hillsboro Civic Center
150 E. Main St., Hillsboro

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Geschwill tells legislators about small business challenges

Posted By Beth Farmer, Wednesday, April 27, 2016

OAN President Leigh Geschwill, co-owner of F & B Farms & Nursery, testified on the challenges small businesses face April 20 at the state capitol. She was an invited guest of the Oregon House Special Committee on Small Business Growth.

"The business climate in Oregon is poor at best," Geschwill said. "A shortage of labor in agriculture, lack of housing, poor transportation infrastructure and funding, a diminishing education system, and now skyrocketing labor and regulatory costs will keep this state in a permanent recession. These are all areas where government could step in and help."

According to special committee co-chair Rep. David Gomberg (D-Neotsu) the objective of the meeting was to get input from several speakers representing small business clusters in the state. "We are looking for issues, ideas and concepts that we can turn into legislation that's going to make for small business owners, and the people who work for them, just a little bit better here in Oregon," he said.

Owners representing several other small business clusters also testified. Video of the hearing can be viewed here. Geschwill's testimony begins at approximately the 33:45 mark. Her prepared remarks can be viewed here. (PDF)

Geschwill told the committee that F & B Farms & Nursery is a diversified agricultural business that employs 25 full time people year round. In addition to greenhouse products, the company grows hops, grass seed, specialty seed crops, row crops and soon hazelnuts.

She testified that the company’s potential for growth has been hampered by several factors, including cost management, regulations, a lack of available labor, pest and disease issues, water supply issues and the difficulty of getting products to market. She said that the government can help by developing transportation networks, investing in water supply development, making regulation and taxation more predictable and logical, and reducing barriers to market entry.

We should be spending our time planning ahead for the future of our state,” she said. “Right now we are spending all of our time focusing on the social and environmental goals, and have neglected to do the planning for the economic goals.”

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