Oregon House reconstitutes its Water Committee
Thursday, September 26, 2019
Posted by: Beth Farmer
The Oregon House of Representatives has re-constituted its Water Committee as part of a reorganization of various committees that deal with environmental issues and legislation. The significance is that once again, a single committee will now focus on water and water alone.
The committee is chaired by State Rep. Ken Helm (D-Beaverton), who is considered a good friend of the nursery industry and key ally on water issues. The reboot follows a 2019 session where much water legislation was discussed, but little got over the finish line.
The committee is “taking a deep dive into water issues,” according to an article
on the Oregon Capital Insider website. This included a September 17 briefing by Oregon Water Resources Department officials.
Agricultural groups, including the Oregon Association of Nurseries, are observing carefully to see what direction the committee takes and what the impacts could be. Infrastructure, water rights, water monitoring and fees are all issues to watch.
“The committee has a number of new members and they are just getting up to speed on water issues,” OAN Executive Director Jeff Stone told OAN Member Update. “Water issues in Oregon are endlessly complex, and they involve a number of players, from agriculture to the municipalities to the conservation community. Our job is to make sure that the issues and water needs of nurseries and greenhouses are represented and understood.”
The OAN team on water issues includes not just Stone, but Steve Shropshire and Caylin Barter of Jordan Ramis PC, the team at Thorn Run Partners and engaged Government Relations Committee led by Chair Kyle Fessler (Woodburn Nursery & Azaleas Inc.) and vice-Chair Wes Bailey (Smith Gardens).