Oregon State Fire Marshal Temporarily Allows Self Serve Retail Fuel.

In response to the impacts of COVID-19 on Oregon, the Office of State Fire Marshal is suspending regulations over self-service stations and implementing measures to ensure the health and safety of gas retailers.

“During this unprecedented time of state emergency, we need to ensure that critical supply lines for fuels and other basic services remain uninterrupted,” said State Fire Marshal Jim Walker.

A. Effective immediately today, until April 11 (two weeks from effective date), retail facilities of Class 1 flammable liquid transportation fuels prohibited from offering self-service refueling shall:

  1. Prepare, implement and enforce social distancing policies consistent with guidance from the Oregon Health Authority,
  2. Require an attendant to be on duty to supervise self-service refueling consistent with the social distancing policies and help mitigate the spread of COVID-19 through sanitization measures, and
  3. Designate an employee at each station to implement and enforce the social distancing policies.

B. For retail facilities of Class 1 flammable liquid transportation fuels compliant with paragraph A, the State Fire Marshal’s office shall not enforce the self-service prohibition under ORS 480.310 through ORS 480.385.

C. Notwithstanding (A2), a station owner may only offer self-service without an attendant if:

  1. The owner retains documentation that there are no employees available to work as an attendant, including documentation for absences and employee hiring and retention efforts;
  2. The owner is subject to State Fire Marshal audit and has posted safety signs for how to safely operate a fuel pump; and
  3. The hours of operation under this subsection do not exceed 10 consecutive hours.

Station owners who need help finding employees to cover shifts should contact Miriam Nolte (Miriam.l.nolte@oregon.gov; 503-612-4252) for help finding workers.

For questions about the change, visit the Fire Marshal website.

Add Ons To The Coronavirus Aid Bill Continue To Stall Action In The Senate.

As the national emergency continues, politicians are busily adding unrelated items to the Coronavirus bill and refusing to vote for it unless they are included.  Here’s a partial list:

· Expansive new tax credits for solar and wind energy.
· New emissions standards for airlines and requirement of full offset by 2025.
· Increased collective bargaining and carve outs for unions.
· Required same-day voter registration and early voting.
· A bailout for the U.S. Postal Service, for the union pension fund, and for student loans
· Retirement plans for community newspaper employees.
· Requiring publication of corporate pay statistics by race and race statistics for all corporate boards.
· A requirement for companies receiving assistance to pay a $15/minimum wage.
· $1 billion “Cash For Clunkers”-style program where government buys planes from airlines.
· $1.5 million to study climate change mitigation efforts in civil aviation and aerospace industries.
· New OSHA requirements on hospitals.
· $1 billion to build on program expanded by President Obama that provides discounted phone service for low-income consumers, aka the “Obama phone.”

There’s more coming to light this evening:

  • Pay off $10,000 in student debt per person.
  • Requires federal agencies to explain to Congress how they are increasing their usage of “minority banks.”
  • An automatic extension of nonimmigrant visas and restrict colleges from providing information about citizenship status.
  • $35 million to the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts.

Squabbling Senators Fail To Pass Coronavirus Relief Bill For America Again Today.

A second floor vote today in the U.S. Senate on the coronavirus relief bill has failed again as politicians continue to squabble while Americans suffer.  Both sides are fighting over seemingly unrelated add-ons to the bill.

If you are interested in contacting Oregon’s Senators with your thoughts, use the links below.

Ron Wyden  Contact

Jeff Merkley  Contact

Summary Of Potential Federal Relief For Businesses And Individuals Released.

Things are changing rapidly as the Federal government works to address the COVID-19 pandemic.  We are all hearing about Congress passing bills to provide financial relief to businesses and individuals, including tax deferrals.   The House Ways and Means Committee has released an FAQ webpage with an easily readable summary of relief efforts.

View the summary here.