Posted by Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) on May 8th, 2007 at 9:17 am
testifies on behalf of S.B 926,
while Steve Brown looks on.
File photo: 3/29/07
Senate Bill 926, which seeks to use $3.5 million in state lottery funds to build three new velodromes in Oregon, is stalled on the desk of the Ways and Means Committee.
The bill is awaiting referral to a subcommittee, but so far Ways and Means Committee Co-Chair Mary Nolan (D-Portland) has not passed the bill along. The reason? She has not heard from enough supporters of the bill, and has some reservations about using state lottery funds to pay for velodromes.
If Rep. Nolan does not pass the bill to committee before the end of the session, Oregon will lose a golden opportunity to enhance recreational opportunities throughout the state, while building important community assets that would have a significant impact on economic development and tourism revenue.
According to Steve Brown -- a citizen who is spearheading an effort to build a velodrome in Portland and has made several trips to Salem in support of this bill -- Nolan has reservations about using Measure 66 (state lottery) revenue for the velodromes. Brown (along with Scott Bricker from the BTA) met with Nolan last month and learned that she is hearing loud and clear from environmental groups that they oppose using Measure 66 funds for anything other than salmon habitat restoration and state parks funding.
Brown is frustrated, because Measure 66 clearly states that the funds can be used for "recreation areas". He points to the following excerpt from the text of the measure,
"Of the moneys in the parks and natural resources fund, 50% shall be distributed for the public purpose of financing the protection, repair, operation, and creation of state parks, ocean shore and public beach access areas, historic sites and recreation areas, and 50% shall be distributed for the public purpose of financing the restoration and protection of native salmonid populations, watersheds, fish and wildlife habitats and water quality in Oregon."
Brown says the "environmental lobby" is holding "a very rigid line" over how they think Measure 66 funds should be spent. He is also concerned that the bike community has not contacted Rep. Nolan to let her know how important these velodromes are to the community,
"Scott Bricker and I met with Senator Devlin last month (Devlin chairs the Natural Resources Subcommittee). He is eager to get the bill into his committee, but unless more people contact Rep. Nolan, he'll never get a look at it."
Brown also points out that salmon restoration and state parks are already pegged to received nearly $100 million each from a State Lottery pot that has reached record levels this year.
The orginal sponsor of the bill, Jason Atkinson (R-Central Point) has met with the Governor's office and is working with his colleagues to move the bill forward. Senator Floyd Prozanski (D-Lane/Douglas Counties), who successfully amended the bill to include a velodrome in his district, is also working hard on this bill.
Brown is urging everyone who supports this bill to contact Rep. Nolan today.
Read my extensive coverage of this bill. You can also listen to an audio clip of Steve Brown's testimony in Salem:
Download mp3 (4.7 MB, 4:44 length)