COVID-19 Update and Reflections on the murder of George Floyd

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Dear Friends and Neighbors, 

I am sure that many of you, like myself, have been praying for George Floyd and his family, and reflecting on the many  ways in which our black and brown neighbors are killed, harassed and hampered by the systems of racism and oppression that persist in our state and our nation.  Institutional racism has led to the tragic death of another black citizen and our communities have been heartbroken, upset, and overwhelmed by grief yet again. My soul feels scarred and angry to say the least, and I will work with other leaders for an action package for real change. 

We Must Work Together To End Institutional Racism

  • Scott Woods, a black author and poet, captured some of my thoughts and feelings perfectly in the quote below: 
    • “The problem is that white people see racism as conscious hate, when racism is bigger than that. Racism is a complex system of social and political levers and pulleys set up generations ago to continue working on the behalf of whites at other people’s expense, whether whites know/like it or not.
    • Racism is an insidious cultural disease. It is so insidious that it doesn’t care if you are a white person who likes black people; it’s still going to find a way to infect how you deal with people who don’t look like you. Yes, racism looks like hate, but hate is just one manifestation. Privilege is another. Access is another. Ignorance is another. Apathy is another. And so on.
    • So while I agree with people who say no one is born racist, it remains a powerful system that we’re immediately born into. It’s like being born into air: you take it in as soon as you breathe. It’s not a cold that you can get over. There is no anti-racist certification class. It’s a set of socioeconomic traps and cultural values that are fired up every time we interact with the world. It is a thing you have to keep scooping out of the boat of your life to keep from drowning in it. I know it’s hard work, but it’s the price you pay for owning everything.”  -Scott Woods
  • In addition to the tragic deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and Ahmaud Arbery, we see the devastating and deadly effects of systemic racism in many other areas of our lives.  African American women of all income levels and backgrounds are dying from preventable pregnancy-related complications at three to four times the rate of non-Hispanic white women, and the death rate for black infants is twice that of infants born to non-Hispanic white mothers (learn more here). Coronavirus is also shining a light on the health disparities that non-white Oregonians are facing.  In Oregon, the Latinx community makes up 33% of diagnosed cases of coronavirus despite making up approximately 13% of the state’s population. Nationwide, members of the black community are dying at a far higher rate from coronavirus than other Americans.  
  • Over the weekend, many Oregonians stood up to peacefully protest these injustices, and to honor the life of George Floyd and others.   I encourage everyone watching the coverage of these protests to remember the anguish and anger that has led to them, and consider how they can support our neighbors, rather than focussing on the destructive actions of the few.  State Police have been and will continue to support Portland Police in ensuring that protesters have the space to protest safely and peacefully, and the Oregon National Guard will be acting in a support capacity only, you can learn more about these deployments by watching this press conference, or reading this release
  • We have a lot of work to do to heal and change the systems and priorities that hurt, restrain and kill so many members of our communities.  It will take more than a single post, and more than the simple act of being “not-racist” we all need to become avictely anti-racist, challenging and working against racism both individual and systemic wherever we see it.  To paraphrase Commissioner JoAnn Hardesty at today’s press conference, “There is not one single policy change needed, we need to take a careful look at every agency, law and program for disparate racial outcomes, and take decisive actions to make every agency and program more equitable.”  I am working with other leaders to make those changes real.  
  • I will leave you with some words from my colleagues from the legislative POC (people of color) Caucus.  You can find more resources on how to stand with communities of color and engage in anti-racist ally-ship below.  

“We are all angry at the disregard for Black lives, the lack of justice in our criminal justice system, the funneling of wealth from Black communities. We, the POC Caucus, are intimately acquainted with the fear that for US, and for our fathers, mothers, sons, daughters, husbands, wives and partners, any encounter with law enforcement could turn deadly. 

“We are doing the work every day to show up for our communities, to pass legislation that holds police accountable, that formalizes anti-racist, anti-bias trainings and zero tolerance policies for racist behavior in our institutions. 

“We need all hands on deck for this work. We need our non-Black community members to speak truth to power, to protect us, to stand with us in this fight for justice, in this fight for our lives.” 

Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor and George Floyd

Clockwise from the left, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, and George Floyd.

It is important to keep the lives of those lost at the forefront of our minds as we work and fight for justice for them and so many others.

What can you do?

Learn and be open:

  • There are many resources out there to help you on your journey to gaining greater understanding of the barriers and injustices that systemic racism places on communities of color.  There are many books, articles, podcasts, and resources to further your understanding of these issues, and many ways for you to get involved in the fight against systemic racism.  Brittney Packnett Cumminham, activist, educator and writer, has compiled this Anti-Racist Resorces List, for those looking to learn and act. 
  • As you take the time to learn and grow, it is important to be mindful of the impact of your actions.  It is great to amplify the call to action against violence and injustice, but posting graphic depictions of violence without warning can be re-traumatizing to those most affected.  While it is great to learn and seek out more knowledge and understanding, please do not lean on non-white friends, neighbors and activists, they are carrying their own burdens and don’t need yours.  Instead, seek out resources on your own, and lean on other allies to help you find other resources.  

Below you will find some more resources and tools compiled by our House Democratic Leadership team, and the Legislative POC Caucus: 

  • Dos:
    • Do make an effort to diversify your social spheres
    • Do start and encourage dialogues across differences
    • Do be aware of your implicit biases
    • Do the inner work to figure out a way to acknowledge how you participate in oppressive systems
    • Do advocate, speak out, and support organizations working to change the oppressive systems
    • Do amplify (online and when physically present) the voices of those without your privilege
  • Don’t:
    • Do not expect to be taught or shown. Take it upon yourself to use the tools around you to learn and answer your questions. 
    • Do not behave as though you know best
    • Do not take credit for the labor of those who are marginalized and did the work before you stepped into the picture
    • Do not make an anecdote about your self experience to discount anti-black racism

Support Racial Justice Organizations: 

  • Black Lives Matter, Portland Chapter, Black Lives Matter PDX is committed to advocate for social justice and increasing socio-economic capital for the black community.
  • Color of Change, Color Of Change is the nation’s largest online racial justice organization by designing strategies powerful enough to fight racism and injustice—in politics and culture, in the workplace and the economy, in criminal justice and community life, and wherever they exist. You can find more information here
  • Irresistible, Irresistible is a podcast playlist and collective of conversations and practices around racialized trauma, healing and advocacy. You can tune in here.
  • The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), The Portland chapter of the NAACP has been a leader in establishing and upholding civil rights for the African-American community and for people of color in Portland. 
  • The Portland African American Leadership Forum (PAALF), PAALF is a grassroots organization, uniting people of African descent to advance equity through community organizing, civic participation and leadership development.The PAALF People’s Plan serves as a powerful tool for research, organizing, and implementation  empowered  by the Portland Black community to address disparities  in the areas of health, education, housing, administration of justice, environmental justice, etc. You can find more information here
  • Unite Oregon, Unite Oregon actively works on engaging and organizing the public to participate in field listening sessions, training, and local workshops about racial justice programs.You can find more information on their website here. 
  • Urban League, The Urban League of Portland is one of Oregon’s oldest civil rights and social service organizations, empowering African-Americans and others to achieve equality in education, employment, health, economic security and quality of life. 

COVID-19 Related Updates

  • DMV Reopening: Beginning June 3, 40 (of 60 total) DMV offices will be open across the state by appointment only.  Starting today, June 1, DMV will begin scheduling appointments. You can make an appointment for offices in the Portland metro area,by calling this number (503) 945-5000.  Until further notice, DMV offices will only process certain priority transactions:
    • Commercial Driver License issuance, renewal, and replacement
    • Farm endorsements
    • Standard/Class C Driver License issuance, renewal, and replacement (beginning July 6 replacements will be available online and will no longer be done in-person)
    • ID card issuance, renewal, and replacement (beginning July 6 replacements will be available online and will no longer be done in-person)
    • Driver license reinstatements
  • DMV Transactions that can be done online will NOT be processed in-person – see their website for all of the things that can be done online.  DMV will NOT conduct driving tests (skills tests) for new drivers.  New drivers needing drive/skills tests are encouraged to work with private, third party testing businesses.
  • On Friday, Governor Kate Brown announced a $30 million investment to secure Oregon's food supply chain and protect essential agricultural workers. The Governor's Office worked with state agencies, farmers, and farmworker advocates to develop a funding proposal to deploy rapid support and resources to Oregon's agricultural producers to meet harvest demands and to mitigate the spread of COVID-19. You can read more details in the announcement here
  • The Oregon Worker Relief Fund has already been able to distribute $750,000 to help workers who are excluded from federal stimulus relief or traditional unemployment benefits due to their immigration status. These individuals contribute to the unemployment insurance system but can’t access those funds. Last month, the legislative Emergency Board dedicated $10 million to seed this support fund, and there are now 16 community-based organizations throughout the state who have committed to getting this money to those in need. All applications are reviewed centrally, and if approved, funds are disbursed using mobile payments and checks.
  • Farmer’s Markets: Come support your local vendors and enjoy the bounty that our area has to offer.  But make sure to check out the website for each market before you go to see updated information about safety protocols! 
  • Unemployment Updates: 
    • New Director: Over the weekend, Governor Brown removed the Employment Department Director and appointed David Gerstenfeld as interim director.  David has been serving as the Director of the Paid Family and Medical Leave Insurance Division, and has been helpful to my office and others in understanding the barriers OED is facing, and helping constituents get access to benefits.  I look forward to continuing to work with him in this new role.  
    • On Saturday, David Gerstenfeld and former Employment Director Kay Erickson joined the House Committee on Business and Labor virtually, to answer questions that there wasn’t time to address in their earlier hearing.  You can watch the original hearing, and the supplemental Q&A hearing on the committee’s OLIS page.  
    • Work System’s Webinars: Every Thursday at 2:00 pm, Worksystems will host a webinar to present information on the new Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) program. Staff will be on hand to answer your questions!

Washington County Reopening

As of today, June 1st, Washington County is officially in Phase 1 of reopening! This is very exciting for all of us, but especially for those who have been struggling economically due to the closures.  In order to keep our county and our businesses open, we all must take personal responsibility to be as safe as possible in these Phase 1 guidelines.  Businesses must follow the Governor’s guidelines, some but not all of which are listed below, and every person in our county must do their part by respecting the guidelines, wearing masks, maintaining physical distance where possible and staying local! 

Restaurants and bars must:

  • Ensure tables are spaced at least six feet apart so that at least six feet between parties is maintained, including when customers approach or leave tables
  • Require all employees to wear cloth face or disposable coverings (provided by the employer)
  • End all on-site consumption of food and drinks by 10 p.m.

Personal care services (salons, barber shops, massage, etc.) must:

  • Make appointments with pre-appointment health check
  • Maintain a customer log
  • Maintain six feet physical distancing between clients
  • Remove all magazines, newspapers, snacks and beverages from waiting areas
  • Require face coverings by employees and clients (depending on the services provided)

Gyms/ fitness must:

  • Limit maximum number of customers accordingly
  • Enforce physical distancing & sanitation
  • Local gatherings must: Limit local gatherings to 25 with no traveling

In addition:

  • Indoor and outdoor malls can open, under certain criteria
  • Grocery stores, pharmacies, banks and credit unions, and gas stations are all open.
  • Some outdoor recreation activities are open, including many state parks. Day-use areas that are prone to attracting crowds are to stay closed, including but not limited to playgrounds, picnic shelters/structures, water parks and pools, and sports courts for contact sports like basketball. 
  • Non-emergency medical care, dentist offices and veterinary care are open and operating, provided they meet required safety guidelines.
  • Child care is open under certain restrictions, with priority placements for children of health care workers, first responders, and frontline workers.
  • Public transit is open under certain restrictions, and must be sanitized often and enforce three feet of space between passengers.
  • Summer school and camps can open.
Why we wear masks

Legislative Committee Meetings

House Agriculture and Land Use Committee

Last week we had several legislative committee meetings, including House Agriculture and Land Use, of which I am a vice-chair.  At this meeting we received important updates on Impacts of COVID-19 on Agriculture Markets, Temporary Rules Addressing Labor-Intensive Agricultural Operations in Response to COVID-19, Access to Meat Processing Facilities and the Effect of COVID-19, Effect of COVID-19 on the Farm to School Program, and Community Food Initiative Using Container Hydroponics.  You can access materials from this meeting here, or view the committee proceedings by clicking on the image to the left. 

A few other meetings you may have missed:

House Committee on Business and Labor

House Committee on Business and Labor: As mentioned earlier, this committee had two meeting this week.  The first included virtual presentations from several agencies and programs.  And the second was dedicated to getting answers from the Employment Department to various questions about the rollout of benefits.  You can view the details from the first meeting here, and from the second by clicking on the image below.  

The House Committee on Housing was the first to meet and had many important updates on COVID-19 effect on unhoused populations, renters and homeowners.  I encourage you to view or listen to the entire proceedings here.  Or review the submitted materials here.  

House Committee on Health Care received updates on Public Health response to COVID-19, the impacts on vulnerable populations and health care workers, and telehealth.  I encourage you to view or listen to the entire proceedings here.  Or review the submitted materials here.  

Other Meetings: You can look on OLIS to view the full agenda of legislative committee meetings past and upcoming.  

Upcoming Meetings: 

Tuesday, June 2nd: 

Senate Interim Committee On Mental Health, at 8am

Senate Interim Committee On Education, at 12pm

Joint Task Force On Access to Quality Affordable Child Care, at 3pm

Wednesday, June 3rd:

Senate Interim Committee On Judiciary, at 8am

Senate Interim Committee On Human Services, 12pm

Thursday, June 4th: 

Senate Interim Committee On General Government and Emergency Preparedness, at 8am

Senate Interim Committee On Environment and Natural Resources, at 12pm 

Friday, June 5th: 

Senate Interim Committee On Wildfire Reduction and Recovery, at 8am

Senate Interim Committee On Housing and Development, at 12pm

Monday, June 8th:

Joint Committee On Transportation, at 12pm 

*Note* This will be my first Joint Transportation meeting in my new role as Co-Chair! I hope you will tune in and share your thoughts!

Case Data

  • National Numbers: 
    • Confirmed Cases: 1,787,680 (up 26,177 from yesterday)
    • Deaths: 104,396 (up 696 from yesterday)
    • These national numbers come from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.  You can view their national and state by state data here
  • Oregon Status Report:  Oregon now has 4.302 total cases (confirmed and presumptive) of COVID-19.  Today we have 59 new confirmed and presumptive cases.  Tragically we have had a total of 154 Oregonians die from COVID-19.  Washington County still has one of the highest case counts at 743 confirmed cases, however we are seeing a downward trend in new cases.  You can review on-going updates from OHA by clicking on the table below. 
Daily Update: June 1

Table showing Oregon case, testing and demographic data, link to more information

  • The Oregon Health Authority recently provided a Public Health Indicators Dashboard to enable communities across Oregon to monitor COVID-19 in the state.The dashboard, which will be updated weekly on Thursdays, provides a transparent report that presents complex epidemiological data in an interactive, easy-to-understand way on a state and county level. Below you can see a demographic breakdown of COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations.
Demographic Data

Additional Resources

Employers and Employees

Education Links

Local Government

Utilities Assistance

Food and Housing Assistance



Oregon Health Authority


View Past Updates, Share and Subscribe: 

If there was COVID-related information in a past newsletter that you want to go back to, but find you’ve deleted it, you can always go to my legislative website (, click on “News and Information,” and you’ll find them all there. You can also share this site with your friends and loved ones, so they can view past newsletters, and subscribe to future updates.  

Photo Array June 1

When I go out I wear my mask. Stay Healthy get outside enjoy Oregon's Beauty. Congresswoman Bonimici is a great partner on all issues!

Yours truly,

Representative Susan McLain

Representative Susan McLain
House District 29

email: I phone: 503-986-1429
address: 900 Court St NE, H-376, Salem, OR 97301