As Climate Laws Pass Elsewhere, Oregon Republicans Go to the Extreme to Not

JUNE 19, 2019 - Governing

“This bill is not just about Oregon. It’s about building environmental momentum,” Rep. Chris Gorsek, a Democrat, said during the debate. “I believe that this will inspire other states, cities, counties and perhaps even the federal government at some point to join with us.”


Oregon's Cap-And-Trade Bill Clears House, Heads To Senate

June 18, 2019 - OPB

“This bill is not just about Oregon, it’s about building environmental momentum,” said Rep. Chris Gorsek, D-Troutdale. “I believe that this will inspire other states, cities, counties, and perhaps even the federal government at some point to join with us.”


Plastic bag ban passes state Senate

June 14, 2019 - Gresham Outlook

"Plastic bags are increasingly problematic at both the local and global level," Gorsek said. "There is increasing awareness with our constituents that this is a problem. I represent a number of municipalities that have reached out to my office and asked that we address this at the state level after considering local bans."


Lawmakers OK bill requiring whitewater rafting helmets

May 16, 2019 - KTVZ

Rep. Chris Gorsek, D-Troutdale, introduced the bill after hearing about one of his constituents, Sharon Birge, who lost her life in a rafting accident in 2015.

Birge, a 67-year-old safety manager at Boeing, suffered a traumatic head injury, not completely apparent at the time, on a guided rafting trip down the Deschutes River on July 6, 2015. It wasn’t until hours after the injury that it became apparent that Birge needed medical attention.


Teachers rally at Oregon Capitol against PERS reform bill

May 28, 2019 - KGW

Rep. Chris Gorsek said he understands that the PERS debt is a serious problem, but thinks this bill is the wrong solution.
"We know we have a serious problem. I don't think anyone doubts that. But I oppose this bill, mainly because ... it impacts public employees," Gorsek said. "I think there are other ways to get there without using public employees."


Oregon House OKs requiring recording of juvenile questioning

Apr 25, 2019 - KTVZ

House Bill 3261, introduced by Reps. Chris Gorsek (D-Troutdale) and Carla Piluso (D-Gresham), two legislators with law enforcement experience*, passed out of the House Wednesday by a 51-6 vote, with bipartisan support.

The bill provides juveniles with expanded protections, calling for the recording of young people whenever they’re subject to a custodial interview, when appropriate equipment is either already required or otherwise available.


Bill To Ban Cyanide Traps Is Headed To Governor’s Desk

APR 26, 2019 - KLCC

Supporters of the measure including Rep. Chris Gorsek, D-Troutdale, said the devices have killed household pets and injured humans.  “We’re talking about something that indiscriminately injects, or gives a dose of cyanide, to people or animals," said Gorsek. "To my mind, it’s almost like having little landmines out in the landscape.”

The bill passed the Oregon House and Senate by wide margins, and is awaiting action by Oregon Governor Kate Brown.


Slap a Bus Driver, Go to Jail: That’s the Concept Behind a New Bill Dividing Left-Wing Interests in Salem

March 5, 2019 - Willamette Week

Rep. Chris Gorsek (D-Troutdale), the bill's sponsor, is a former Portland police officer. He says defense lawyers are right to think about disparities.

"These are very real concerns," he says. "I am committed to ensuring that we work to address over-criminalization and the needs of the houseless community, in addition to making this minor change to state law. Which is why I've also favored decriminalizing fare enforcement as well."


Bills would block workers from being fired for using pot on off hours

Feb 17, 2019 - Bend Bulletin

“Folks who are using recreational or medical marijuana in their off time would be treated like someone who has a beer after work,” said Rep. Chris Gorsek, D-Troutdale, author of HB 2655. “If you come to work the next day, and you are not impaired, testing should not be an excuse to fire someone.”


Bills aim to tackle costly mandatory overtime problem for Oregon prison guards

Jan 09, 2019 - Oregonian

It's become such a problem that the union representing most Oregon correctional officers asked Rep. Chris Gorsek, D-Troutdale, to shepherd two bills to cut the state's reliance on mandatory overtime. Lawmakers on the House Judiciary Committee gave both a first hearing Tuesday.


Thirteen Oregon Lawmakers Call On Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum To Stop TriMet’s Random Stops To Check Fares

September 27, 2018 - Willamette Week

"A policy of sweeping fare enforcement searches violates the constitutional rights of transit riders," they write.


Gorsek wins House District 49 seat

November 06, 2018 - Gresham Outlook

"It is my greatest honor to represent Oregon's House District 49, and I thank the community for choosing to re-elect me to serve as their representative in Salem," Gorsek said in the release. "For the past 6 years, I have put East County's working families first. I am proud of my record of supporting job creation with my update of the Oregon Strategic Investment Program, passing the only tenant protection bill signed into law since the beginning of the housing crisis as well as implementing reforms to protect youth when questioned by law enforcement."



NOVEMBER 16, 2018 - The Advocate Online

“Quite frankly, I was surprised we got super-majorities in both houses,” Gorsek said. With those victories, he said he and his Democratic colleagues are prepared to tackle long-term, chronic funding problems in the state. To do this, he foresees the Legislature working to ensure all corporations pay their fair share in taxes, he said.


New TriMet bus lines hit the road

March 5, 2018 - Koin

“Not only 74 is being added, but 81, which is in the Troutdale area — that’s now going to connect people better to the old Reynolds Aluminum plant where Amazon is going in and where Fed Ex already is,” Gorsek says. 


Oregon House OKs ban on most no-cause evictions

Bill also lifts ban on local rent-control rules

April 4, 2017 - KTVZ

“Solving this crisis will require many approaches – including increasing the supply of housing and preservation of existing housing units. But we need stronger tenant protections too,” said Rep. Chris Gorsek (D – Troutdale), another co-sponsor of the legislation. “House Bill 2004 is an important part of addressing the emergency that too many families find themselves in.”


Lawmakers consider bills to protect juveniles questioned by police

Mar 22, 2017 - Oregonian

Gorsek said he was concerned about the continued use of what's called the Reid-type of police interrogations, when officers try to elicit confessions by isolating suspects for extended periods, telling them that police know they're guilty, lying about evidence that police don't actually have, which is legal, and trying to convince them it's in their best interests to confess.

"In my district, there have been young kids in the very recent past that have experienced things like this,'' said Gorsek, whose district represents Gresham, Fairview, Troutdale and Wood Village.


House bill to challenge port control of Troutdale Airport

Feb 24, 2017 - The Portland Tribune 

Rhodes, who runs the Save Troutdale Airport Facebook page, said Gorsek’s bill earned a solid “thumbs up” from him, though he’d like to see the proposed commission’s charter explicitly protect local interests.

“Members of the board as you say, must have ‘skin in the game,’” agreed Greg Lehman, owner of Advanced Aircraft Services, which operates out of Troutdale. Having the initial members, hand picked by the Governor, will only serve to have the authority filled with bureaucrats who will continue to serve in the interests outside of the operation of the airport.”


Cop or not? Police look-alikes regulated in Bend, Oregon

State has few rules on private companies’ uniforms and vehicles

September 27, 2016 - Bend Bulletin

Starting this year, the state is taking a closer look at the names used by private security companies. Gabliks said the new rule came about when Rep. Chris Gorsek, a Democrat and former police officer, of Gresham, took issue with the names used by two private security companies, the Oregon Coast Protective Division and the Albany Merchant Police.


Your Guide to the 2016 Oregon Legislature

October 3, 2016 - Willamette Week

Mall Cops

Sponsored by Rep. Chris Gorsek (D-Troutdale)

Bans security guards from wearing badges or driving patrol cars that would cause a "reasonable person" to think they were actual police officers. It's unclear what reasonable person is currently making that mistake.


Staying ON target

May 24, 2016

Company leaders and invited guests marked Gresham’s role in ON’s success for the past 10 years with an anniversary celebration on Friday, May 20, on the 80-acre campus at 23400 N.E. Glisan St.

More than 150 guests were on hand, including Sen. Laurie Monnes Anderson, D-District 25; Rep. Chris Gorsek, D-District 49; Metro Councilor Shirley Craddick; representatives from the Gresham Area Chamber of Commerce; and the cities of Gresham and Troutdale. ON leaders, including Chief Executive Officer Keith Jackson, spoke of the company’s successes, challenges and long-term commitment to growing its East Multnomah County digital wafer-fabrication facility, ON’s largest and most advanced factory.


Rep. Chris Gorsek has fostered lifelong service to the community

May 2014 - PCC News

Diamond Alum: Rep. Chris Gorsek

One of the five is Rep. Chris Gorsek, who was a PCC student in the late 1970s and early 1980s, studying Criminal Justice as a means to meet the Portland Police Bureau’s requirement of 90 credit hours. His studies at PCC inspired a lifelong love of learning that took him south to the University of Oregon for his master’s degree, and later to Portland State University, where he earned his doctorate in Urban Studies.


TriMet's audit, a 'full-body X-ray' of finances and operations, will help set things straight

July 21, 2013 – Oregonian

The first-term Troutdale lawmaker Chris Gorsek can feel he's performed a mighty public service with the Legislature's passage of his bill requiring a performance audit of the mass transit agency TriMet.


East County Legislators Deliver on Priorities in 2013 Session

July 15, 2013 - NEWS RELEASE

Passage of bonding, TriMet and job creation bills will benefit East County’s economy

SALEM – With the legislature adjourned for the year, lawmakers from East Multnomah County took the opportunity to highlight key successes of the 2013 session for the communities they represent in the Oregon State House and Senate.

“Families in East County sent us to Salem this session with a clear mission: Improve funding for education, help create good paying jobs, and improve access to higher education and job skills training,” said Senator Laurie Monnes Anderson (D-Gresham). “Today I’m proud to report we’ve delivered on East County’s priorities with a historic boost for K-12 funding, key investments for higher education and job training, and funding that will spur construction projects and job creation for our community. These are major victories for East County.”

Bonding projects and funding championed by Senator Monnes Anderson and Representative Gorsek for East County include:

• $8 million in bonds for projects at Mt. Hood Community College, including remodeling projects, expanding student service facilities, centralizing academic advising, career counseling, financial aid, admissions, registration, testing, business office and other functions.

• $1.7 million in funding for the East Metro Gang Enforcement Team, which cracks down on gang related crime in East County and works with at-risk youth to prevent gang affiliation.

Additional legislation championed by Representative Chris Gorsek and Senator Monnes Anderson will:

• Hold the transit agency TriMet accountable for using taxpayer money to deliver transportation services.

• Attract much-needed job growth to East County by encouraging development on industrial lands. Creation of the Oregon Industrial Site Readiness Assessment Program will provide grants to help local governments survey the availability of industrial sites and create a plan to help develop these areas.

“This session, we’ve increased funding for education, improved transparency of TriMet’s operations and finances, and strengthened Oregon’s economic environment to spur job growth. That’s what East County sent us to the Capitol to do, and I’m proud to say that we’ve accomplished each of these goals,” said Representative Chris Gorsek (D-Troutdale).

The K-12 budget passed by the Oregon Legislature in 2013 provides $1 billion more over the prior year’s allocation for schools across the state, allowing schools in East County to hire teachers, add back school days, and decrease class sizes.


TriMet audit overwhelmingly approved by Oregon Legislature

July 2, 2013 – The Oregonian

Secretary of State Kate Brown will conduct an unprecedented top-to-bottom audit of TriMet's operations, finances, governance and transparency under a bill approved Tuesday by the Oregon Legislature.

Rep. Chris Gorsek, D-Troutdale, the chief sponsor of House Bill 3316, said the audit probably wouldn't have been necessary if TriMet didn't have a reputation for sweeping problems under the carpet and operating behind closed doors.

"For an agency that controls as much money and as many lives as TriMet, transparency is very important," Gorsek said. "We need to know what's going on there and why."

Read the full story here.

Audit would guide TriMet, riders on right route

June 20, 2013 – The Portland Tribune

I’ve heard people say that you can’t truly understand a city without using its public transportation system. For the Portland area, that brings good news and bad news.

Portland has been ranked first in the nation for public transit based on the wide variety of travel options and high ridership. However, for many residents in East Multnomah County and other parts of the TriMet service area, the story isn’t so sunny.

East County residents who rely on TriMet as their sole mode of transportation are facing challenges getting to the store to buy groceries, traveling to work and school, and taking their children to the doctor. That’s why I’m pushing to improve our public transportation system so that it is more responsive to the needs of our communities.

Read the full story here.

Rep. Gorsek Wants Fair Treatment for Students

May 22, 2013 - NEWS RELEASE

Rep. Gorsek calls on Congress to support Bank on Students Loan Fairness Act

TROUTDALE – Representative Chris Gorsek (D-Troutdale) has introduced a bill that calls on Congress to give students the same interest rates available to big banks.

House Joint Memorial 19 calls on Congress to support the Bank on Students Loan Fairness Act, introduced by Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA).

The interest rate on new, federally subsidized student loans is set to double on July 1st from 3.4 to 6.8 percent. Unless Congress acts, the cost of borrowing money to go to college will double for millions of Americans. Meanwhile, a big bank can get a loan through the Federal Reserve discount window at a rate of about 0.75 percent.

“Students in Oregon are already struggling with massive student loan debt,” said Representative Chris Gorsek (D – Troutdale). “It is outrageous that big Wall Street banks can get such a sweet deal while hardworking young people are faced with rapidly increasing rates.”

The Bank on Students Loan Fairness Act would allow students who are eligible for federally subsidized Stafford loans to borrow at the same rate that big banks get.

The Congressional Budget Office recently increased the forecasted profit for the student loan program to $50.6 billion, up from the February forecast of $35.5 billion. This increase comes as student loans now total more than $1 trillion, an amount the Federal Reserve has identified as a risk to household spending.

“We should be doing everything we can to support young people who want to improve their opportunities in life by going to college. It’s time for Congress to put students before big banks,” Rep. Gorsek said.

Rep. Gorsek is an instructor at Mt. Hood Community College and member of the House Committee on Higher Education and Workforce Development. Six U.S. Senators have joined Sen. Warren as co-sponsors, including Senator Jeff Merkley (D-OR)

# # #

House votes to increase transparency of higher education costs

April 23, 2013 - NEWS RELEASE

House Bill 3079 would help students make informed choices

SALEM – Today the Oregon House of Representatives passed legislation that would help students make informed, cost-effective choices about investing in higher education.

House Bill 3079 would require all higher education institutions to inform students about costs, school performance, and educational value before they enroll in a program.

“Oregon’s students deserve to have all the facts before they decide to make any major investment,” said Representative Chris Gorsek (D – Troutdale), one of the bill’s chief sponsors.

Under HB 3079, colleges and universities would be required to distribute fact sheets regarding costs, loans, completion rates for programs or degrees, average salaries, loan default rates, and other related data prior to enrolling students.

“After teaching college students for almost 30 years, I have seen what a huge difference education can make in people’s lives,” said Representative Joe Gallegos (D – Hillsboro), a member of the Higher Education and Workforce Development committee and a sponsor of HB 3079. “But I also believe that institutions have a responsibility to be upfront about costs, loans, and the proven value of the program.”

House Bill 3079 passed the House unanimously and now heads to the Senate for consideration.


Legislation that holds insurance companies accountable for fraud passes the House

April 2, 2013 - NEWS RELEASE

HB 3160A removes insurance industry exemption from Oregon’s Unfair Trade Practices Act

SALEM – A bill that would protect Oregonians who are mistreated by insurance companies passed the Oregon House of Representatives today.

Under current law, consumers and small businesses are vulnerable to fraud because insurance companies are exempt from Oregon’s signature consumer protection statute – the Unfair Trade Practices Act. House Bill 3160A would remove that exemption and require insurance companies to meet the same standards as every other industry in Oregon.

 “No company should be able to mistreat, mislead, or cheat Oregonians,” Rep. Paul Holvey (D – Eugene), chair of the Consumer Protection and Government Efficiency Committee said. “But I’ve heard from many small business owners and consumers who have been mistreated by insurance companies. This legislation will finally hold those companies accountable for their bad behavior and provide a pathway to remedies for consumers.”

House Bill 3160A will use existing legal standards in the Unfair Claim Settlement Practices Act to regulate insurers and ensure that they follow the same standards of conduct as everyone else doing business in Oregon.

“It’s time to end this special privilege granted to insurance companies,” Representative Chris Gorsek (D – Troutdale) said. “Right now, Oregonians don’t have adequate tools to hold them accountable when they fail to pay claims, hide coverage, or make other unethical business decisions. The House stood up for Oregonians today by passing this bill.”

House Bill 3160A passed the House by a vote of 33-27 and now heads to the Senate.