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Monnes Anderson introduces bills related to foreclosed property, river safety

Family inspired by river tragedy to sponsor helmet bill for this session.

FILE PHOTO - Sen. Laurie Monnes AndersonDuring the recent Oregon State Legislative session, Sen. Laurie Monnes Anderson, D-Gresham, introduced two bills brought to her attention by constituents — Senate Bill 654, relating to rights of redemption, and SB 643, relating to the use of helmets on certain river waters.

The first bill looks to make changes to the right of redemption, which is the right of a debtor whose real property has been foreclosed upon and sold to reclaim the property if they can repay the debt within 180 days. The bill will prevent that right from being sold to a third party.

"People will sell the right of redemption to a third party, who then tries to use it to make money," said Herbert Mohn, who brought the idea to Monnes Anderson. "Only the original owner should be able to reclaim the property."

Mohn became involved in rights of redemption while trying to purchase a home during an auction with his wife. They claimed the property and were approached by someone offering to sell them the right of redemption for peace of mind, as it would ensure no one would swoop in during the grace period and spike the deal.

If passed SB 654 will amend ORS 18.963.

SB 643 was sponsored alongside Rep. Chris Gorsek, D-Troutdale. It would require anyone 17 or younger to wear a helmet while operating or riding as a passenger in a boat on any section of water rated class III or higher.

Class III water is rated under the international scale of river difficulty. As the rank increases, swimming becomes more dangerous because of the frequency and intensity of rapids. Failure to wear a helmet could lead to a maximum fine of $1,000.

The bill was introduced at the request of Robert Birge and Shawna Wellman Birge, in memory of Sharon Birge, Robert's wife and Shawna's mother. Sharon was rafting through class IV rapids and hit her head on one of the paddles. The injury eventually led to her death.

"The family wanted to have helmets be required," Monnes Anderson said. "We do fall out of rafts, and if that happens around rocks it can be dangerous."

If passed SB 643 will amend ORS 830.215 and 830.380.

Monnes Anderson was elected by fellow legislators to the position of President Pro-Tempore, which means she will take over the duties of Senate president if he is unable to do so. She will continue serving as chairwoman of the Senate Committee on Health Care and vice chairwoman of the Senate Committee on Veterans an Emergency Preparedness.