HOUSE COMMITTEE ON INFORMATION MANAGEMENT AND TECHNOLOGY

 

April 7, 2005        Field Trip

3:00 P.M.   No Tape

 

 

MEMBERS PRESENT:            Rep. John Dallum, Chair

Rep. Kelley Wirth, Vice-Chair

Rep. Brad Witt

 

MEMBERS EXCUSED:            Rep. Jerry Krummel, Vice-Chair

                                                Rep. Chuck Burley

 

STAFF PRESENT: Louann Rahmig, Committee Assistant

 

MEASURES/ISSUES HEARD:

                                                Local and State Safety Reports

 

These minutes are in compliance with Senate and House Rules.  Only text enclosed in quotation marks reports a speaker’s exact words.  For complete contents, please refer to the tapes.

 

 

Speaker

Comments

Meeting held at Family Services Building, 401 4th Street, Fossil, Oregon.

 

Chair Dallum

Calls the meeting to order at 1:03 p.m.  Expresses appreciation to the people of Fossil and Mitchell for allowing the House Information Management and Technology Committee to meet with them.  Asks committee members to introduce themselves.

 

Rep. Wirth

Introduces herself and describes her district.

 

Rep. Witt

Introduces himself and describes his district.

 

Chair Dallum

Invites Mitchell, Oregon, emergency medical technicians Nicholas Wells and Roger Sergeant to speak.

 

Nicholas Wells

Reads prepared remarks from City of Mitchell Mayor T. E. “Kiefer” Davis (EXHIBIT A).  Mayor Davis describes the heavy traffic on Highway 26, which is the heaviest traveled two-lane highway in central Oregon.  Advises there is no cell phone service between Prineville and John Day, Oregon.

 

Wells

Expresses concerns from personal experience in answering emergency calls and about the length of time it takes to respond due to the lack of cell phone service.  States that OnStar does not work without cell service.  

 

Rep. Witt

Asks for an estimate of travel time between the initial contact and the victim actually being transported.

 

Wells

Responds that it depends on the time of day and time of year, summer being the busiest time.  States that in the middle of January, it may take well over an hour for an accident to be discovered and another hour before arrival on the scene. 

 

Rep. Wirth

Asks how much the area would benefit from more roads, alternate routes, etc., and if there has been any improvement in the infrastructure in the last three legislative sessions.

 

Audience response

Highway 26 was resurfaced about nine years ago.

 

Sheriff David Rouse

Reports that Wheeler County has 50 miles of Highway 26.  Presents statistics on visitor impact:  10,730 big game tags issued in 2004, which does not include any other type of hunting; 1,500 people on the John Day River on a typical weekend; 2,104 vehicles at the fossil beds on Highway 218; 1,500-3,000 motorcycles annually on Memorial Day weekend; 1,100 vehicles per day average over US 26 in 1999. 

 

Rouse

States that there are areas with no telephone service at all.  Winter outages are not as bad as they used to be, but when power is out there is no phone service.  Reports that a 911 call center opened in Condon in 2003 with 50 percent of the emergency calls coming from cell phones. 

 

Rouse

Advises that most cell phones now have GPS but it cannot be used in Wheeler County. 

 

Rep. Wirth

Asks what has been done to improve communications.

 

Rouse

Responds, local movements only – nothing from the state.  There are three counties working together to get broadband capabilities.

 

Rep. Wirth

Expresses interest in liability issues.

 

Rouse

Replies that sheriffs are mandated to do search and rescue without compensation, so probably no liability involved.

 

Rep. Wirth

Reports on proposed legislation for immunity for radio broadcasters.  Asks if that potential would be there.

 

Rouse

Answers that the people feel they should have the same service as in the city.  If communications were available, help would be timelier.

 

Rep. Witt

Asks what percentage of auto drug stops are reported by a passerby.

 

Rouse

Most reports are on drunk drivers, not much for drugs.

 

Rep. Witt

Asks the percentage of stops would be as a result of a citizen report.

 

Rouse

Many calls come from other towns.

 

Chair Dallum

Expresses appreciation to the sheriff for his work to get cell phones in Wheeler County.

 

Judge Jeanne Burch

Thanks the committee for coming.  Reports on the 11-year effort to get someone to talk to them.  Reports that they received three full-time equivalencies, conferencing and line charges as a result of SB 622.  Public safety is paramount.  Indicates the county commissions were unable to attend the meeting so she was the spokesperson.

 

Burch

Reports on a traffic accident in January when a deputy was killed.  With no communications available, someone had to get to a place where they could report the accident.  By the time life flight arrived, the deputy had died.  Perhaps a cell phone would have helped.  There are many recreationists in the area in the summer who have cell phones and expect service.  Advises there may be only 1,500 people in the county and not all would subscribe to cell phone service, but it is still necessary.  Rural/remote residents need communications.

 

Rep. Wirth

Regarding SB 622, wasn’t the money prioritized?  How was the money allocated?

 

Judge Burch

Responds that they were told the money would help rural Oregon, and perhaps it did somewhere, but not here.  Doesn’t know how it was allocated.

 

Chair Dallum

Asks if space could be provided on existing towers around the county, if the equipment could be obtained.

 

Judge Burch

Answers yes.  The Frontier Telenet board met and voted to provide cell space on their towers at no charge.

 

Rhonda Brennan

Mitchell Ambulance Association.  Advises they have only radio communications and many times it is not effective due to location.  Reports on the importance of Frontier Learning Network (FLN) which allows one teacher to serve three counties.  Indicates she is also involved with economic development and it is difficult to get businesses and young families to come to Wheeler County due to lack of communications.

 

Rep. Wirth

Asks how FLN is funded.

 

Brennan

Doesn’t know.  Reports on the recent field trip to the Capitol, which is scheduled every four years for the Mitchell school students. 

 

Rep. Witt

Inquires about her thoughts on what might be done to bring jobs to the area.

 

Brennan

Responds that if Wheeler County could tap into broadband in Condon, access from other areas would improve (possible home businesses, etc).

 

Chair Dallum

If FLN cut, would education be cut?

 

Brennan

Answers, yes.  FLN provided the first responder class that several people took.

 

Holly Weimar

Describes her personal circumstances following an auto accident.  Her cell phone did not work and she was only five miles from Fossil, within sight of Condon.  The accident occurred about one mile from where her cell phone quit working.

 

Lisa Helms

Was first on the scene of Holly’s accident.  Continued on to the sheriff’s office to report the accident.  By the time they could respond, someone had picked Holly up and brought her to town. 

 

Weimar

Expresses concern about the short distance cell phone service was not available.  Winter is an especially critical time.

 

Tom Cutsforth

Wheeler County District Attorney.  Reports that the first 60 minutes after an accident is the most critical.  Gives examples of three successes using cell phones and explains how beneficial they are.

 

Rep. Wirth

Reports on the Office of Rural Policy created last year and asks if they have had any contact from them.

 

Cutsforth

Replies, no, but the sheriff has been working that issue.  Has also been working with judiciary to get teleconferencing capability.  Do have a TV and a camera but are about five years behind everyone else.

 

Anthony Lanni

President, Frontier Telenet.  Reports that formal action was taken that date (April 7) to provide free cell phone space on their towers.  States that health and safety are the primary reasons for cell service, but economics need to be addressed as well.  Is working with a college student in Spray who has started a broadband service in Spray and plans to do the same in Mitchell.  The student wants to move into small communities, establish a business and stay in Wheeler County.  States that Frontier Telenet supports that effort and wants to assist any way they can to bring cell phone service to Wheeler County. 

 

Rep. Wirth

Asks if FLN is funded through a grant.

 

Lanni

Responds, it is in the Oregon Department of Education budget.

 

Rep. Wirth

Inquires if there have been any businesses leave the area due to lack of infrastructure.

 

Lanni

Cannot answer that.  Businesses have considered coming but won’t if there is no broadband.  If there is a lack of too many services, businesses won’t locate here.

 

Rep. Wirth

As ESD head, asks opinion on minimum amount needed for minimum services.

 

Lanni

Can use whatever they can get and use it well.  Expresses pride in their schools, but if they were in large cities, they would be closed.  Due to lack of economic growth, they are losing young people.  The average age in eastern Oregon is 53.

 

Chair Dallum

States that this ESD is not just that, but is telecommunications, education, and a partnership in 911.  Any negative impact will impact the entire community.

 

Tom Schott

Rancher.  Had no further comments to make. 

 

Robert Brunner

Resident, Fossil.  Is a volunteer who transports senior citizens to local medical appointments.  If an emergency happens en route, a choice must be made to continue on or turn back.  Provides information on remoteness of areas through which he drives south to Bend.  Comments that land line phones are few and far between.

 

Terry Todd

School bus driver.  Indicates she drives over the same route described by Mr. Brunner.  Expresses concern on what she would do if there was an accident with a busload of children, and no way to get help.

 

Roberta Conlee

Comments that tourists in the area want the capability to call home.

 

Derich Hofmann

Young Life Ministry, Wasco County.  Reports that 18,000 guests were served in 2004.  Has young life sponsored emergency services and uses FLN for that training.  Is curious if service would be possible in their camp area.  Says that DSL service is available but limited.

 

Fran Molinare

Member, Home Health Board.  Reports that they are the only home health agency that services Fossil and Spray and nurses are unable to communicate.  Medicare is pushing for more technology for record keeping, monitoring, etc.  Offers that Wheeler County is “frontier” rather than “rural.” 

 

Sandy Taggart

Informs that she lives in a rural area and is alone much of the time, and also travels alone a lot.  A cell phone would provide security.

 

Ken Murphy

Office of Emergency Management.  Believes the most relevant points have been covered.  Advises that cell service and other technological investments can save money.  Reports that he works with 911 centers around the state and with homeland security, and terrorism is another form of emergency.  Advises that cell phones need to have GPS, as cell phone towers and 911 centers can triangulate with GPS, which would be a big help with rescue.  Continues that cell phones with cameras can help with pictures of situations, condition of victims, etc.     

 

Murphy

Terrorism is the issue of the day.  If Portland were attacked, people would be escaping to rural areas.  Cell coverage opens up other opportunities, such as video information.  Law enforcement needs security in communications.  Some things should not be public information.  It is key to have the right information to the right people at the right time.

 

Rep. Wirth

Asks if the specific problem is reluctance of providers.

 

Murphy

Answers, depends on the company.  Bottom line is profit.  Since towers are available, perhaps we should get a couple different carriers. 

 

Rep. Wirth

Inquires if this is the only area in the state this isolated.

 

Murphy

Responds, no; there are many other areas even in the western part of the state.

 

Rep. Wirth

Asks if the county is eligible for federal assistance.

 

Murphy

Replies that the federal government imposes rules based on population density and risk.  Office of Emergency Management does not use the same statistics but treats Wheeler County the same as Portland.

 

Chair Dallum

Inquires if Wheeler County were to seek a grant, if there would be help.

 

Murphy

Answers that homeland security will help as the results of terrorism are the same as an earthquake or flood.  Trying to use homeland security money to take care of all things and provide good communications to everyone in America.

 

Mark Usselman

Region 4, Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT).  Reports that they are limited to what they can spend gas tax funds on.  Cannot spend on cell phone towers but are looking into other federal grant programs.

 

Chris Vermiller

Sprint, Hood River.  Advises that financial issues have prevented cell phones in the area, and they still need information to make a decision.  Reports that Sprint is working with another county in the area, which has agreed in principal to release second-hand equipment from a major metropolitan area to get things up and running quickly.  States they need $30,000 per tower to get equipment up. 

 

Chair Dallum

Refers to a letter from ODOT stating they have $150,000 available, with some legislative work.

 

Rep. Wirth

Asks if that will equip five towers.

 

Vermiller

Need more information, but will get us close.

 

Rep. Wirth

Inquires about the 18 million minutes per month needed to qualify for service.

 

Vermiller

Responds that a lot of things go into that, but since the towers exist and there is power to them, construction costs will not be needed.

 

Rep. Wirth

Will the 18 million minutes be waived?

 

Vermiller

Will be significantly less since the equipment is available.    

 

Judge Burch

Expresses appreciation to Sprint and the state.

 

Chair Dallum

Adjourns the meeting at 3:07 p.m.

 

 

EXHIBIT SUMMARY

 

  1. Written statement by T. E. Davis, submitted by Nicholas Wells, 1 p
  2. ODOT letter, received by FAX, 1 p

HOUSE COMMITTEE ON

INFORMATION MANAGEMENT AND TECHNOLOGY

 

March 15, 2005   Hearing Room 357

1:00 P.M.  Tapes 25 - 26

 

MEMBERS PRESENT:            Rep. John Dallum, Chair

Rep. Jerry Krummel, Vice-Chair

Rep. Kelley Wirth, Vice-Chair

Rep. Chuck Burley

Rep. Brad Witt

 

STAFF PRESENT:                  Dallas Weyand, Committee Administrator

Louann Rahmig, Committee Assistant

 

MEASURES/ISSUES HEARD:

                                                High Performance Computing Briefing – Informational Meeting

 

                                               

These minutes are in compliance with Senate and House Rules.  Only text enclosed in quotation marks reports a speaker’s exact words.  For complete contents, please refer to the tapes.

 

TAPE/#

Speaker

Comments

TAPE 25, A

003

Chair Dallum

Calls the meeting to order at 1:00 p.m.  Introduces the high school students from Mitchell, Oregon, attending the committee meeting as guests.  Opens the informational meeting on high performance computing briefing.

HIGH PERFORMANCE COMPUTING BRIEFING – INFORMATIONAL MEETING

015

Brian Wornath

LCN Media & Consulting Group.  Announces that he represents the Oregon High Performance Computing Consortium.  Distributes hard copy of General Proposal for Establishing an Oregon High Performance Computing Infrastructure PowerPoint presentation (EXHIBIT A).  Begins the presentation with an overview and the goals of developing a supercomputing resource in Oregon. 

055

Wornath

Provides an explanation of supercomputing and who would use it. 

074

Wornath

Describes the old-style, traditional, single-purpose computer called a “monolith.”   

088

Wornath

Discusses types of supercomputers.  Refers to case studies in EXHIBIT A, Page 14.

117

Wornath

Discusses how much unused computing time is available after regular office hours, creating an affordable and powerful computing “grid.” 

149

Wornath

Continues with justification to develop affordable high performance computing resources within Oregon. 

184

Wornath

Proposes to create a state resource that markets the unused capacity and the accompanying consulting services, offering “one-stop shopping” for high-performance computing.   

216

Wornath

Outlines sources for general initial capitalization.  States that earnings from operations would come from leasing affordable high-performance computing time.

237

Wornath

Shows comparison of estimated financial scenarios (EXHIBIT A)

313

Wornath

Discusses the percentage of return and cost per year of operating a computer grid. 

381

Wornath

Suggests implementing a pilot project to determine the best technical solution.  Displays the estimated pilot profitability. 

TAPE 26, A

019

Wornath

Discusses a possible organizational structure similar to an Oregon high-performance computing consortium.  Continues with explanation of challenges. 

069

Wornath

Has spoken with Chief Information Officers around the state, who believe the concept is good. 

083

Wornath

Summarizes by stating that the technology is proven, can easily be applied to numerous applications and uses, and is easily expandable. 

121

Chair Dallum

Asks about the “down side.”

125

Wornath

Responds that information technology people will say this is a very specialized area.  Believes that ideally the universities and the state would co-develop a pilot program.

148

Chair Dallum

Inquires if this concept is attractive to private enterprise.  

155

Wornath

Replies, it is.  Continues that there are certain niches that don’t have the financial resources to take on a project such as this.  Cites examples of researchers who believe they can use.  

192

Chair Dallum

Asks what proposed legislation should look like.

196

Wornath

Answers that funding for a pilot project could be requested. 

227

Rep. Burley

Inquires what is preventing us from using this now. 

233

Wornath

Responds, nothing.  Indicates from a financial standpoint, it is best to consolidate and not have many small clusters. 

261

Rep. Burley

Refers to the case studies in EXHIBIT A that were mostly done by private corporations.  Comments that if we were going to use public resources, that is a different set of circumstances particularly since we are concerned with security issues.

270

Wornath

Agrees.  Offers to provide more up-to-date information.  Reports on other states that are doing this for economic development. 

313

Rep. Burley

States that the corporate environment is more controlled than ours as we have computers all across the state.  Asks how we would insure security.

323

Wornath

Agrees that some environments are better suited than others. 

329

Rep. Krummel

Asks if setting something like this up in the new data center might generate the dollars to pay for it.

338

Wornath

Replies, absolutely.  Reports that high performance computing is being done on a limited basis at the Oregon State University Oceanic School. 

404

Rep. Krummel

Asks if there have been discussions with the Department of Administrative Services (DAS) or other privately owned data centers to see if there is an interest.

416

Wornath

Has spoken with DAS and some small companies affiliated with academics.

439

Rep. Witt

Inquires if one has to be a participant in the network to be able to utilize supercomputing capacity.

TAPE 25, B

 

 

011

Wornath

Responds, yes, for security reasons.  States that the criteria needs to be identified in the business model.    

020

Rep. Witt

Asks if he is aware of any claims in other states that there is not equal access.

025

Wornath

Answers that he has not heard of any.

027

Rep. Wirth

Inquires if anyone has expressed an interest in helping finance a pilot study.

032

Wornath

Replies, absolutely. 

038

Rep. Wirth

Asks how much private money might be available.

046

Wornath

Replies that there is interest, and some medical schools are trying to lure grants.  Believes discussions with interested parties to determine how much money is available would be needed.

069

Rep. Wirth

Inquires if other states have included some public financing, and how far along they are in the process.   

077

Wornath

Answers, it varies. 

089

Wanda Brennan

High School Science Teacher, Mitchell, Oregon.  Cites problems of areas with limited internet access.  Asks how high-performance computing will benefit them.

096

Wornath

Responds that not all rural areas will receive the same amount of benefit; however, areas with community colleges perhaps can provide access.   

140

Chair Dallum

Closes the informational meeting on high performance computing and adjourns the meeting at 2:08 p.m.

 

 

EXHIBIT SUMMARY

 

  1. High Performance Computing Infrastructure, General Proposal for Establishing, printed copy of PowerPoint presentation, Brian Wornath, 67 pp