Coronavirus Update: Legislators Make Progress on Relief Package

House Speaker Tina Kotek

Coronavirus Update: Legislators Make Progress on Relief Package

Dear Friends and Neighbors,

We continue to work hard to come up with short-term relief for Oregonians who are economically impacted by the coronavirus pandemic. The work of the Joint Special Committee on Coronavirus Response has put out its first proposal for an initial response package.

The co-chairs of the committee, Rep. Paul Holvey from Eugene and Sen. Arnie Roblan from Coos Bay, put together a letter to the Senate President and me. Click here to read it. The letter outlines recommendations on how to help people with essential needs like housing and food, support small businesses, and make sure state government can be effective during this crisis.

We are now looking at the recommendations and talking with Governor Brown about how best to proceed. We should have more news tomorrow. Stay tuned!

Help Stop Price Gouging

In one of my updates last week, I told a story about going to the grocery store for an elderly neighbor and not finding toilet paper for her after going to four stores (while following social distancing guidelines). That experience was a stark reminder about the impact that hoarding supplies can have on our friends and neighbors during a crisis.

I’ve heard about so many wonderful acts of kindness amid the coronavirus pandemic and am genuinely touched by the constituent emails asking what can be done to help. Most people are taking this approach during an incredibly difficult situation.

Sadly, though, some people have been trying to make a quick buck and price gouging is happening. I appreciate the work Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum has done to stop price gouging at some convenience stores, which Willamette Week detailed here.

If you see examples of price gouging, please say something. You can make a difference by calling the Oregon Department of Justice’s price gouging hotline (503-378-8442) or visiting their website to file a report:

And, as a reminder, if your employer is staying open contrary to what the Governor’s Stay Home, Save Lives executive order requires, or not enforcing 6 feet of social distancing in the workplace, you can report them to Oregon’s Occupational Safety and Health (OSHA) division. The Bureau of Labor and Industries (BOLI) has information here for workers during these uncertain times.

Personal Protective Equipment Still Needed

THANK YOU to all who have reached out about their efforts to donate personal protective equipment (PPE), such as masks, gowns, and gloves to frontline health care workers. Every effort makes a difference, and I’m told dentists and veterinarians have particularly stepped up to provide donations. And, kudos to retailers who have stepped up, like Harbor Freight, which donated its entire PPE supply to hospitals in need.

But, the need for PPE is still critical. Oregon has received only 25% of its request for PPE from the federal government. There are horrific stories coming out of New York, where coronavirus has spread rapidly, about some hospital workers having to use garbage bags as gowns. States are competing with other states for limited supply.

The best way to help is to donate. Click here to see how and where you can donate. Not all hospitals are accepting homemade masks. However, Salem Health Hospital will accept homemade masks if you follow their specific instructions here. Watch the video below to see how a mask can be made.

PPE Mask Making

The Latest News

  • A $2 trillion federal stimulus package unanimously passed the U.S. Senate and is expected to pass the House of Representatives tomorrow, and President Trump plans to sign it. More details will come soon, but early projections say the bill will bring roughly $1.2 billion to Oregon. In addition to more unemployment benefits, small business aid, and other important provisions, most taxpayers will receive $1,200 per adult and $500 per child.
  • Governor Brown announced yesterday that Oregon received a shipment of 4,000 testing swabs from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
  • Yesterday, the Oregon Department of Consumer and Business Services issued a temporary emergency order that requires all insurance companies to extend grace periods for paying insurance premiums and other insurance matters. For more information on insurance issues and COVID-19, click here.
  • The Oregon Health Authority today announced 50 more diagnosed cases of coronavirus, bringing the statewide total to 316, including 11 deaths. This is an increase of more than 100 diagnosed cases in a two-day period. More diagnosed cases are expected as testing capacity increases. OHA has started releasing more detailed data on coronavirus testing and hospital capacity, as you’ll see below. Please note that while older populations are most at risk for serious complications, more than half of diagnosed cases occurred with people under 60 years old. No age group is immune!
OHA COVID-19 Update - March 26, 2020

For up to date information, please check this link to the Oregon Health Authority where regular updates are posted:

Please email me at if you have specific concerns that have not been addressed by the OHA. Our office will do all we can to help and protect all Oregonians.

We will get through this together. Thanks for reading!



Tina Kotek

State Representative
House District 44
Speaker of the House

email: I phone: 503-986-1200
address: 900 Court St NE, H-269, Salem, OR 97301