QANON SUPPORTER FACES STATE AND FEDERAL CHARGES: Cody Melby, the 39-year-old Beavercreek, Ore., man who prosecutors say fired several shots at the Mark O. Hatfield United States Courthouse in downtown Portland on Jan. 8, now faces criminal charges in both state and federal court. According to the probable cause affidavit filed Jan. 11 in Multnomah County Circuit Court, Melby caused over $1,000 in damage to the building. County prosecutors also noted in the affidavit that Melby faces charges of trespassing at the state Capitol in Salem with a firearm Jan. 6, the same day Trump loyalists stormed the U.S. Capitol. Melby, a veteran who was deployed to the Middle East and the Balkans, has a history of mental health issues, according to custody filings by his ex-wife. Federal prosecutors noted in their Jan. 10 criminal complaint that Melby has posted videos to his YouTube channel expressing support for QAnon conspiracy theories, and making other statements "that subscribe to the 'Alt-Right' ideology of 'Stop the Steal.'" Melby is being held at the Multnomah County Jail on $25,000 bail.
COURTHOUSE LOSES A $35,000 WINDOW: Vandals broke a large window Jan. 6 at Multnomah County's brand-new, $324 million courthouse. The cost for a replacement window: about $35,000, according to county spokesman Mike Pullen. The window itself, which contains argon gas between glass panels for energy efficiency and noise reduction, costs $12,000, but the cost of shipping it from overseas and bringing in an installation team from out of state adds to the price. On Jan. 9, things got worse for the 17-story building, which opened in October. A sprinkler head on the seventh floor failed, leaking water all the way down to the basement. The county is still investigating the cause and determining the extent of the damage but hopes the "significant" cost of fixing it will be covered by the sprinkler's warranty.
BILL TARGETS DOUBLE-DIPPING LAWMAKERS: Senate Bill 527, sponsored by Senate Minority Leader Fred Girod (R-Stayton) and Sen. Lynn Findley (R-Vale), would prohibit lawmakers from serving on the budget-writing Joint Ways and Means Committee "if member, relative of member or business with which member or relative is associated enters into contracts with State of Oregon for provision of goods or services to state, including capital construction." As WW reported in 2019, companies associated with state Rep. Greg Smith (R-Heppner), a longtime member of the Ways and Means Committee, secured two large rail-related contracts with the Oregon Department of Transportation. Girod didn't respond to a request for comment. Findley says he didn't connect the bill to Smith but signed on because he's in favor of greater transparency in the Legislature. As for Smith, he said he was unaware of the bill until contacted by WW, but he supports the concept, which would go into effect 91 days after the session and not be retroactive. "I'm signing on as a co-sponsor," Smith said.
OREGON STATE SONG COULD GET NEW LYRICS: The Oregon state song could get a rewrite under a bill proposed by Rep. Andrea Salinas (D-Lake Oswego) or a resolution proposed by Rep. Sheri Schouten (D-Beaverton), among others. "The Legislative Assembly finds that the current state song for the State of Oregon, 'Oregon, My Oregon,' has lyrics that are entrenched in racism, that fail to recognize the suffering of Native people who were forcibly removed from this state and that fail to recognize the pain and suffering of Black people who were subject to exclusion laws targeting Black people," reads the text of House Bill 2329, sponsored by Salinas. That bill would institute a process for modifying the lyrics, which celebrates Oregon as the "Land of the Empire Builders" that is "conquered and held by free men." House Concurrent Resolution 11 would rewrite it. The legislative session, which began Jan. 11, saw the swearing in of an increased number of lawmakers of color, and Schouten has previously said she has support from the BIPOC Caucus for a new song.