6 Oregon Trucking Associations, Inc. Oregon Truck Dispatch Mark Gibson, Chair OTA in Action Committee/ President, Siskiyou Transportation IT HAS BEEN an interesting few years since we were struck with the Covid pandemic. It’s been life changing for many, both individuals and businesses. It has changed the way many of us do business, and some of those changes will likely remain for a long time to come. However, in many areas… fortunately…life is returning to how it was before. For many of us, it introduced the concept of video meetings, and trying to make decisions without personal, in-room discussions. I think one of the things that came out of much of this was a stronger surge in special interest groups. People both had the time, and found it easier to sit at home, log into public meetings, and “be involved.” Most of us in the trucking industry still continued to work and do business. However different our routines became, we were still engaged in what we do, “taking care of business.” We are on the edge of a potentially pivotal change in the face of Oregon government. There is a pendulum shift happening (to what extent, we will see in November). We will have a new governor. Each party has put forward their pick, plus we have one unaffiliated candidate that is getting a lot of attention. From the party contenders, one may bring us a bit more of the status quo—or “status woe”—while the other will surely push for change in the way Oregon government has evolved over the past eight years. Next year, we have a full legislative session to look forward to. Although the capital building may still be off limits, to a certain extent, due to construction, there will be plenty going on that will likely attempt to continue to over-regulate and over-tax us all. We in the trucking industry need to continue to be vigilant in our monitory, shaping the opinions of lawmakers, and educating those employed by government agencies. Despite our frustrations, we still have a free society and a government that must listen, or at least be open to hearing the views of its people. OTA and the trucking industry as a whole need to build their grass roots effort more than ever to counter the many special interest groups that are trying to force premature change on the financial backs of the trucking industry. Low-carbon fuel, banning petroleum diesel, forcing the industry to move to electric vehicles. These are all potentially commendable causes to help our environment… however, only when we are positioned to make the changes. We need renewable diesel to be readily available at our pumps here in Oregon. The electrical grid needs to be prepared to support the incredible load that will be placed upon it when we are all charging our electric vehicles. We need to know and evaluate what the true carbon costs are in producing electric vehicles. We need alternative vehicles that can travel more than a couple hundred miles. Not to mention, all of the above need to come with a reasonable price tag. We have many hurdles to overcome. The grass roots movement of our industry has many fronts to act upon. Local government, transportation planners, Metropolitan Planning Organizations (MPO’S), Area Commissions on Transportation (ACT’S), ODOT transportation committees, town hall meetings. The list goes on, and frankly you have all likely heard me mention them while on one of my soap box discussions about involvement. Grass Roots VS Special Interests; Trucking’s Strengths We need to be heard, and the only way to do that is to be involved.