The flood of Western Oregon Democrats in Deschutes County has receded with the end of the state party’s 2017 summit at Sunriver Resort. But the “Blue Crew” that is not from Los Angeles promise to return several times before the political World Series of the 2018 general election.

Hillary Clinton may have ignored the Upper Midwest, but Gov. Kate Brown will not do the same with Eastern and Central Oregon in her race to retain her office.

“We will be contesting the race in every county in Oregon,” said Brown campaign consultant Thomas Wheatley.

For his part, Republican front-runner Knute Buehler, who wants to trade his Bend-area state House seat for Brown’s job, has made low-key forays west of the Cascades. Buehler appeared earlier this month along with former governors John Kitzhaber and Ted Kulongoski at a medical conference in Portland. Expect these political raids across the de facto partisan border of the Cascades to continue even during the snowy winter months.

In the meantime, here’s the news from Salem.

What’s up?

At the summit in Sunriver, Democrats were thinking out loud about their wishes for 2018.

There are 15 state Senate seats — half the total — up for election in 2018. Ten are held by Democrats and five by Republicans. Democrats need to pick up just one seat to have a supermajority that would give them economic carte blanche with legislation.

In a best-case scenario, Democrats are shooting for veto-proof majorities of 40 House seats (up five from now) and 20 Senate seats (up three).

There are a number of scenarios in the House that could lead to 40. In the Senate, Democrats are targeting districts of three Republican incumbents whose constituents voted for Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump: Sen. Alan DeBoer of Ashland (Clinton won by 9 percent), Sen. Chuck Thomsen of Hood River (Clinton by 3 percent), and Sen. Jackie Winters of Salem (Clinton by 1 percent).

Committee and board bound

Four Bend residents were named to state boards and committees Monday by Brown: Jennifer Welander, chief financial officer of St. Charles Medical System, to the Health Insurance Exchange Advisory Committee; Communications entrepreneur Christian Van Dyke to the Trust for Cultural Development Board; Bend Police Sgt. Elizabeth Lawrence to the State Board on Public Standards Safety and Training; and Adele McAfee to the Volunteers Commission for Voluntary Action and Service.

Highway of honors

A Medal of Honor recipient from Bend will celebrate his 97th birthday by taking part in the unveiling of the first sign designating all 451 miles of Oregon’s U.S. Highway 20 as the Oregon Medal of Honor Highway.

Bob Maxwell, who received the nation’s highest military honor for his actions during World War II, will travel to the Three Sisters Scenic Viewpoint, between Bend and Sisters, for the ceremony. The nation’s first Medal of Honor Highway takes in the entire length of Highway 20 in Oregon, from Newport to Nyssa. The event is open to the public. It is scheduled for 11 a.m. Thursday.


Before the evening’s keynote speakers took to the stage Saturday at the Democrat’s 2017 Summit, Democratic Party chair Jeanne Atkins led the audience in singing “America, the Beautiful.” At the end, a smiling Atkins said, “That should be the national anthem instead of that song about bombs.”

Did not say ‘I Like Ike’

U.S. Rep. Peter DeFazio, D-Springfield, the dean of the Oregon D.C. delegation, revealed in Sunriver that the three politicians who had the most influence on him were President Harry Truman, Oregon Sen. Wayne Morse, and President Franklin D. Roosevelt.

No Knutes

Portland was not the only under-the-radar medical group news involving Buehler. The lawmaker left St. Charles Health System’s board of directors, according to hospital spokesperson Lisa Goodman. Buehler will officially be on a leave of absence through 2018. By January 2019, Buehler will either be preparing to be sworn in as governor or be ready to resume his role at St. Charles.


“If North Korea launches everything they have at the same time, a lot of people are going to die.”

— Rep. Ted Lieu, D-Calif., keynote speaker at the Democratic Summit in Sunriver, on President Trump’s policy of baiting nuclear-armed North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un.

Note: Capitol Roundup will be on hiatus until early November.

— Reporter: 541-525-5280,