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News Releases
Oregon OSHA further extends comment period for pesticide rules - 02/16/18

(Salem) -- The Oregon Occupational Safety and Health Division (Oregon OSHA) has again extended the public comment period on proposed additional safeguards against pesticide drift. The decision moves the deadline from Feb. 28 to March 15 and allows more time to comment on the proposed rules while considering a revised statement of need and financial impact.

Oregon OSHA appointed a Fiscal Impact Advisory Committee to provide additional analysis as part of the agency's updates to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Worker Protection Standard. The committee included both grower and worker representatives. The committee finished its work in February with an Amended Statement of Need and Fiscal Impact.

Oregon OSHA's rule proposals add protections to the EPA's Application Exclusion Zone. The zone surrounds and moves with pesticide-spray equipment during applications. It must be free of all people other than appropriately trained and equipped pesticide handlers.

Learn more about Oregon OSHA's rule proposals and review the Amended Statement of Need and Fiscal Impact at http://osha.oregon.gov/rules/making/Pages/proposed.aspx

Learn more about the Fiscal Impact Advisory Committee at
http://osha.oregon.gov/rules/advisory/ag-emp/Pages/wps-fiac.aspx

Extending the comment period through March 15 marks the third time Oregon OSHA has allowed more time to review and remark on the rule proposals. The comment period was originally scheduled to end Dec. 15. To comment:

Department of Consumer and Business Services/Oregon OSHA
350 Winter St. NE
Salem, OR 97301-3882
Email: tech.web@oregon.gov
Fax: 503-947-7461


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Oregon OSHA, a division of the Department of Consumer and Business Services, enforces the state's workplace safety and health rules and works to improve workplace safety and health for all Oregon workers. For more information, visit www.osha.oregon.gov.

The Department of Consumer and Business Services is Oregon's largest business regulatory and consumer protection agency. For more information, go to www.dcbs.oregon.gov.

Senate confirms new leadership for Oregon Department of Consumer and Business Services - 02/15/18

(Salem) -- The Oregon State Senate confirmed Cameron Smith as director for the Department of Consumer and Business Services this week. He has served as acting director for the department since Gov. Kate Brown nominated him in December 2017.

Previously, Smith served as director of the Oregon Department of Veterans' Affairs, senior policy advisor to both Gov. John Kitzhaber and Gov. Ted Kulongoski, and a captain in the U.S. Marine Corps, completing three tours of duty in Iraq. Smith, originally from Boston, lives with his wife and two children in Portland.

"What attracted me to join the department was our mission and the breadth and depth of our programs and policy areas," said Smith. "But more than anything, I was attracted by the stellar reputation of this team, from the front-line staff through leadership."

In one of his first official decisions as director, Smith appointed Andrew Stolfi as the state's insurance commissioner. Stolfi joined the department earlier this month to serve as the administrator for the Division of Financial Regulation.

Stolfi spent six years in Switzerland at the International Association of Insurance Supervisors, most recently serving as chief operating officer and chief counsel. Before joining the association, Stolfi served in senior management roles at the Illinois Department of Insurance.

"I have a passion for consumer protection, which makes it an honor to return to the U.S. to serve as insurance commissioner for this great state," said Stolfi. "I look forward to working with Director Smith, as well as our public and private partners to protect Oregonians' access to fair financial products and services."

Stolfi has been on the job for two weeks. He looks forward to his wife and two children joining him in Salem soon.

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About DCBS: The Department of Consumer and Business Services is Oregon's largest business regulatory and consumer protection agency. For more information, visit www.dcbs.oregon.gov.
About Oregon DFR: The Division of Financial Regulation is part of the Department of Consumer and Business Services, Oregon's largest business regulatory and consumer protection agency. Visit www.dcbs.oregon.gov and www.insurance.oregon.gov.

Oregon will be one of first three states awarded federal funds to support reinsurance program - 02/13/18

(Salem) -- Oregon is one of the first three states to receive funding from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services to support a state reinsurance program. The state's award will be approximately $54 million.

The Oregon Reinsurance Program, created during last year's legislative session, spreads the risk of high-cost claims among all insurance companies to steady the individual health market. The Oregon Department of Consumer and Business Services will manage the program.

"This federal funding recognizes our work to provide comprehensive health insurance options for Oregonians," said Cameron Smith, director of the Department of Consumer and Business Services. "The Oregon Reinsurance Program will help provide market stability for over 200,000 individuals, and encourage insurance companies to offer plans in every corner of the state."

The reinsurance program will be funded by the federal award, funds from the Oregon Temporary Reinsurance Program that ended in 2016, the Oregon Health Insurance Marketplace assessment, and the assessment that was approved by the Measure 101 vote.

Now that funding is secured, the department can set operating parameters and guidelines for the reinsurance program. Estimated funding will be more than $90 million for 2018.

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About DCBS:
The Department of Consumer and Business Services is Oregon's largest business regulatory and consumer protection agency. For more information, visit www.dcbs.oregon.gov.

Event in Eugene puts spotlight on workplace safety, health - 02/06/18

(Salem) -- A two-day conference in Eugene will provide a variety of opportunities for employers, supervisors, and workers to revitalize their commitment to on-the-job safety and to develop relationships with other workplace safety and health advocates.

The Department of Consumer and Business Services, Occupational Safety and Health Division (Oregon OSHA) is one of several partners presenting the 18th biennial Cascade Occupational Safety and Health Conference, to be held March 5-6 at the Hilton Eugene, 66 E. 6th Ave.

On Monday, March 5, keynote speaker Joe Estey will present "Mythical Metrics: Why Zero Gets You Zero." Estey is principal performance improvement specialist for Lucas Engineering and Management Solutions in Richland, Wash. During his interactive presentation, he will draw out best practices from participants and share his experiences of organizations that have moved beyond measuring safety by numbers to managing the safety process, and sustaining operational excellence.

"Fear of not achieving a zero incident or accident rate compels people, by our very nature, to practice aversion rather than achievement," Estey said. Instead of taking that approach, he added, "it's time we embrace and practice a productive safety mindset based upon doing something -- safety in action -- rather than avoiding something -- safety through inaction."

Conference attendees can take advantage of workshops focused on topics that include:
* Basics in starting a safety program
* General industry walking-working surfaces and fall protection
* Hearing conservation and noise control
* Hazard identification for safety committees
* Stress management and physical activity
* Confined space and industrial rescue: How much and how?

The registration fee for both days is $185, or $95 for single-day attendance. For more information or to register, go to http://safetyseries.cvent.com/cascade18.

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Oregon OSHA, a division of the Department of Consumer and Business Services, enforces the state's workplace safety and health rules and works to improve workplace safety and health for all Oregon workers. For more information, visit www.osha.oregon.gov.

The Department of Consumer and Business Services is Oregon's largest business regulatory and consumer protection agency. For more information, go to www.dcbs.oregon.gov.

State takes action against private building inspectors - 02/02/18

(Salem) -- The Oregon Building Codes Division recently finished a series of cases related to private inspection businesses that charged consumers unnecessary fees. The division's latest action is the result of a four-year investigation of On the Level Inspection Concepts Inc. and owner Douglas Dick.

The investigation by the division, part of the Department of Consumer and Business Services, found that Wallowa County Health Care District paid multiple unnecessary fees for the same inspection services to different entities.

Some cities and counties contract out the entire building inspection program to private businesses that have the power to assess fees and start or stop the construction process. The state is concerned with this practice because customers may not have full access to due process when a private business is acting on behalf of government.

On the Level performed commercial inspections and plan reviews for a portion of the Wallowa County Health Care District's residential care facility and for the City of Manzanita without the appropriate approvals and licenses.

On the Level also employed Timothy Gesler to perform commercial inspections, even though Gesler was not certified to perform these safety inspections. BCD fined Gesler for being unlicensed and On The Level for allowing an unlicensed person to perform inspections.

Overall, the Building Codes Division fined On the Level $15,000 and revoked the certifications of its owner, Douglas Dick. The division also denied the third-party business applications of 3D Consulting LLC and King Consulting because King Consulting chose to use Mr. Dick as an employee of this new private inspection business. King Consulting was also fined $6,000 for completing inspections and plan reviews for the City of Manzanita without a license. Mark Doud, the Wallowa County Building Official at the time, personally profited from overcharging the health care facility. He was fined $18,913.45 (five times what he profited) and had all of his building code related licensing and certifications removed.

"The division is concerned because many Oregon communities contract their government function entirely to private businesses for building safety inspections," said Enforcement Manager, Andrea Simmons. "The practice of tying profit to building permit fees contradicts the state's mission to protect the public."

Since 2012, the Building Codes Division has taken action, including revoking certifications and licenses and assessing civil penalties, against 35 private businesses and individual building inspectors who work for the private firms or a local government. These inspectors operated without proper credentials or failed to act in the public's best interest to ensure consumers with paid permit fees receive qualified inspections. In one case, building permit approval was based on payment to a private business.

For a full list of resolved cases, go to http://www.oregon.gov/bcd/enforcement/Pages/final-orders.aspx (most files are under the program "other").

To find out of a building inspector is licensed, go to http://www.oregon.gov/bcd/licensing/Pages/search.aspx or call the division at 503-373-1268.

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The Building Codes Division (BCD) adopts statewide construction standards, which ensure a uniform and predictable regulatory environment in Oregon. For more information, visit www.oregon.gov/bcd.

The Department of Consumer and Business Services is Oregon's largest business regulatory and consumer protection agency. For more information, go to www.oregon.gov/dcbs.

Three protections for consumers as construction projects soar - 02/01/18

(Salem) -- Construction projects are on a rapid rise. According to the Oregon Economic and Revenue Forecast, the rate of new construction recently hit its highest mark in more than 10 years. Consumers looking to purchase or build a new home or remodel an existing home should make sure their contractor follows three important safeguards.
The State of Oregon requires homebuilders:
1. To be licensed, bonded, and insured
2. To obtain all necessary construction permits, and have regular inspections performed
3. To use licensed tradespeople
When contractors meet these three requirements, consumers know they are protected from jobsite accidents, that the work will be done properly, and critical jobs such as plumbing and electrical work will be performed by people with the proper training and experience.
"It is crucial for consumers to make sure when they buy or remodel a home, no matter how big or small the project, that state consumer protection laws are followed," said Mark Long, Building Codes Division administrator. "From a simple remodel to an elaborate home build, Oregonians should protect their investment by ensuring their contractor meets these basic requirements."
If you are buying a home or in the middle of a home building project, ask if your contractor follows required disclosure and contract laws and offers a warranty. Consumers can use these resources to make sure the job is done right:
* To check the licenses of contractors, go to http://search.ccb.state.or.us/search/
* To verify the licenses of plumbers and electricians, go to http://www.oregon.gov/bcd/licensing/Pages/search
Contact your local building official to ask questions, and check permit and inspection information. Visit www.bcd.oregon.gov to find the building official for your area.
Finally, make sure you read and understand any contract before you sign it.
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The Building Codes Division (BCD) adopts the statewide construction standards, which ensure a uniform and predictable regulatory environment in Oregon. For more information, visit www.bcd.oregon.gov and click "local building department lookup" (at bottom of page).
The Department of Consumer and Business Services is Oregon's largest business regulatory and consumer protection agency. For more information, go to www.dcbs.oregon.gov.

Deadline to file claims against Eternal Hills Memorial Gardens and Funeral Home is March 5 - 01/29/18

(Salem) -- The State of Oregon encourages people who believe they paid for but did not receive goods or services from Eternal Hills Memorial Gardens and Funeral Home, Inc. to file a claim with the United States Bankruptcy Court for the District of Oregon by Monday, March 5.

Last year, the State of Oregon filed involuntary bankruptcy against Eternal Hills in U.S. Bankruptcy Court when the Klamath Falls funeral home failed to pay nearly $60,000 in civil penalties assessed by the Oregon Mortuary and Cemetery Board.

Consumer claims may include, but are not limited to:
* Endowment care charges
* Charges for outer burial containers and markers that were never delivered or installed
* Insurance policies paid for but never delivered
* Finance charges on contracts that were paid over time
* Having to use another cemetery due to legal issues
* Plots sold without assigning a plot number or deed
* Undelivered prepaid merchandise like urns
* Charging for veterans markers that are offered free by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs

Consumers who need to file a claim should visit http://www.orb.uscourts.gov/, select proof of claim, and use case number 17-62784-tmr7 to electronically file the form by March 5. Consumers with questions about a potential claim can call Brenda Biggs at 971-673-1505.

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About Oregon DCBS: The Department of Consumer and Business Services is Oregon's largest business regulatory and consumer protection agency. For more information, go to www.dcbs.oregon.gov. Follow DCBS on Twitter: @OregonDCBS. Receive consumer help and information on insurance, mortgages, investments, workplace safety, and more.

Learn Medicare basics in a free, local workshop - 01/26/18

(Salem) -- Oregon's Senior Health Insurance Benefits Assistance program (SHIBA) will be in Curry County in February to hold "Medicare 101" workshops. At three locations, a Medicare expert will explain:
* The basics of Medicare benefits
* How to enroll and how much Medicare costs
* Types of financial help available
* Where Medicare recipients can go for help

The workshops will be held:
* Tuesday, Feb. 20, 3 to 5 p.m., Port Orford Library, 1421 Oregon St., Port Orford
* Wednesday, Feb. 21, 10 a.m. to noon, Southwestern Oregon Community College (Gold Beach), 29392 Ellensburg Ave., Gold Beach
* Wednesday, Feb. 21, 4 to 6 p.m., Chetco Activity Center, 550 Chetco Lane, Brookings
* Thursday, Feb. 22, 10 a.m. to noon, Southwestern Oregon Community College (Brookings), 96082 Lone Ranch Parkway, Brookings
* Thursday, Feb. 22, 3 to 5 p.m., Chetco Community Public Library, 405 Alder St., Brookings

Anyone is welcome to attend, particularly people interested in enrolling in Medicare, health care professionals who work with Medicare recipients, and nonprofit staff members who serve retirees or people with disabilities.

To register in advance, call 503-947-7088.

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Oregon SHIBA is part of the Department of Consumer and Business Services, Oregon's largest business regulatory and consumer protection agency. Visit www.dcbs.oregon.gov. Follow DCBS on Twitter: http://twitter.com/OregonDCBS. Receive consumer help and information on insurance, mortgages, investments, workplace safety, and more.

Health insurance basics to be covered in free workshops - 01/26/18

(Salem) -- The Oregon Health Insurance Marketplace will present "Building Blocks of Health Insurance," a free 90-minute workshop on understanding health insurance, in three Curry County locations next month.

The events, which are open to the public, are schedule for Port Orford, Gold Beach, and Brookings.
* Tuesday, Feb. 20, 5:30 to 7 p.m., Port Orford Library, 1421 Oregon St., Port Orford
* Wednesday, Feb. 21, 12:30 to 2 p.m., Southwestern Oregon Community College (Gold Beach), 29392 Ellensburg Ave., Gold Beach
* Thursday, Feb. 22, 12:30 to 2 p.m., Southwestern Oregon Community College (Brookings), 96082 Lone Ranch Parkway, Brookings

An experienced health-insurance educator from Oregon's Senior Health Insurance Benefits Assistance program (SHIBA) will present on:
* Types of health insurance, including Medicare, the Oregon Health Plan, and individual and family plans
* Summary of Benefits documents
* Explanation of Benefits letters
* Eligibility for financial assistance

To register in advance, call 503-947-7088.

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Oregon SHIBA is part of the Department of Consumer and Business Services, Oregon's largest business regulatory and consumer protection agency. Visit www.dcbs.oregon.gov. Follow DCBS on Twitter: http://twitter.com/OregonDCBS. Receive consumer help and information on insurance, mortgages, investments, workplace safety, and more.