June 9th: COVID-19 and Other Important Updates

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Dear Friends and Neighbors:

I view it as my responsibility as a legislator and community leader to not only acknowledge that Black Lives Matter, but to defend Black lives and to stop violence against Black and Brown bodies.   It is important that my entire community knows that I won’t tolerate racism, I will speak up more in defense of our Black, Indigenous and People of Color community members, and I will support the leadership of People of Color.  

Thank you for taking the time to read this and the updates below.  Whether we are talking about fighting COVID-19 or systemic racism, my message is the same, we are in this together and we will get through this together.  

Protest Photos

Photos from recent protests in defense of Black lives. Clockwise from left Forest Grove, Hillsboro, Portland

New Developments

  • Contact Tracing: I have been hearing from some of you with questions about the need for and role of contact tracers.  This article from the Willamette Week gives a great explanation of the importance of these public health workers.  OHA also has resources published in English and Spanish explaining what to expect if you are contacted by a tracer.  A contact tracer will never ask you for a Social Security Number, immigration status or for payment.  Any information you give a contact tracer about your health, needs or contacts will remain confidential. 
Contact Tracing
  • OSU Food Hero: Whether you have been gardening for years, or have just begun, OSU has gardening tips and tools for you! Check out their Food Hero Program for more information, including on how to enter their “Grow This Challenge”
OSU Extension: Food Hero


Upcoming Events for immigrants and advocates: 

  • Emergency DACA Renewal Clinic June 12: With the DACA decision by SCOTUS coming up as soon as Monday June 15, there is only a short amount of time to receive legal advice for renewing DACA applications.  Thanks to the generous sponsorship of PCC's DREAMer's Resource Center, SOAR Legal will be providing an Emergency DACA Renewal Clinic this Friday June 12, 2020.  This could potentially be the last opportunity to obtain free legal representation and support for DACA renewals before a decision is made. Here is the Document Check List for the event. 
DACA Renewal
DACA Advocates Webinar



Advocates Resilience Webinar for DACistas: Friday, June 12th 2020 1-3pm via zoom, space is limited.  This is a Culturally Customized Webinar For all Community Advocates. 

Worker Relief Fund





Oregon Worker Relief Fund Town Hall-(Spanish): Attend for information on eligibility for the fund, how to apply, and protection and privacy of personal identification. 

COVID-19 Case Data

  • National Numbers: 
    • Confirmed Cases: 1,956,421 (up 17,598 from yesterday)
    • Deaths: 110,925 (up 550 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 4,988 total cases (confirmed and presumptive) of COVID-19.  Today we have 70 new cases.  Tragically we have had a total of 169 Oregonians die from COVID-19.  Washington County still has one of the highest case counts at 807 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.  You can also view the OHA Public Health Indicators Dashboard, which will be updated weekly on Thursdays, and provides a transparent report that presents complex epidemiological data in an interactive, easy-to-understand way on a state and county level. 


Daily Update June 9th

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


Now is the time for each and every one of us to stand in solidarity with Black community members. George Floyd. Ahmed Aubrey. Breonna Taylor. Three Black Americans murdered. Three tragic reminders of the generational and institutionalized racism that plagues our country. We have to demand that government institutions – especially the legislature – operate with a lens toward equity and inclusion. We have to stop the microaggressions that impact our fellow community members. We have to take real action as policy makers to address inequities.  

As we have seen in cities around the country, our criminal-legal system is deeply flawed and discriminatory to communities of color. I have been proud to support criminal justice reform legislation in previous sessions, including reforms to the death penalty making it more difficult to sentence Oregonians to death, and sentencing reform for Oregonians who committed Measure 11 felonies while under age. We also created civil penalties for unlawfully summoning the police and strengthened our state’s hate crime law. I am eager to continue this work when the legislature next convenes.

Additionally, my colleagues in the POC caucus have already proposed a number of legislative solutions to begin the important work of reforming our criminal justice system, including increased officer accountability, empowering our Attorney General to investigate all deaths and serious injuries resulting from officer use of force, and reforming Oregon’s laws on the use of deadly and physical force. I intend to give my full support to these pieces of legislation during the next legislative session.


Yesterday, Interim Hillsboro Police Chief Jim Coleman released this statement regarding bias and use of force in the Hillsboro PD.  More information will be available at the Hillsboro City Council Meeting next Tuesday, June 16th, at 6pm, you can learn more about the details of that meeting here.  At this meeting the council and department will be reviewing the use of force policies currently in place, and considering possible changes, including those recommended by Campaign Zero’s “Eight Can’t Wait”.  Below is an excerpt from Chief Coleman’s statement: 

“The Hillsboro Police Department (HPD) values the unique opportunities our diverse community presents to those who live, work, and visit, along with the right of every person to thrive in this great environment. We hold sacred the lives and aspirations of our Black community members and all communities of color and diversity. Every person in America has the right to live without fear of death, injury, or deprivation at the hands of racism, discrimination, or poor police practices.

The death of George Floyd in Minneapolis on May 25 revisited these fears upon our country and community. No matter how vile and inhumane we as Hillsboro Police officers find the actions leading to his death, we must accept the fact they were perpetrated in a police uniform by a police officer. We know this fractured and eroded the trust we strive for each day with those we desire to serve.

For many reasons, including out of respect for George Floyd, his loved ones, and all victims of racism, we are recommitting to all of the aspects contributing to safe and equitable public safety in Hillsboro. To that end, we have replied to numerous individual inquiries and expressions of concern, and we welcome the continued dialogue with community members. Additionally, the department immediately began to reassess our measures of prevention and accountability.


As Chief of Police, I believe our department is positioned to be a model of how a police agency can be an asset to its community. As part of the City of Hillsboro’s hiring process, HPD asks every potential employee to articulate this to us when they are considered for a position. We have the means for success through the adoption of the highest ideals and by leaning on the deep and historic partnerships with individuals and organizations from all corners of our community nurtured every day by the men and women of HPD. We can never be fully successful without the trust of our communities of color, especially our Black community, and we are committed to earning it every day.”

Washington County and Forest Grove: 

I have reached out to the Washington County Sheriff’s Office, and the Forest Grove Police Department for more information on their use of force policies, and hope to have more information for you all in my next update.  

Transportation Updates

  • Joint Committee on Transportation: Yesterday was my first meeting as Co-Chair of the Joint Committee on Transportation! In our meeting we had updates from Transit agencies and the Oregon Department of Transportation, related to COVID-19 needs and operation changes, REAL ID implementation, State Highway Fund and fuel tax receipts, return to operations at DMV, and status of Mega Projects across the state.  You can read the full agenda and materials here, or watch the full committee meeting by clicking the image below. 
Joint Committee on Transportation, June 8th
  • TriMet looks to the future: transit during the pandemic and beyond
    • TriMet is developing plans for the future. While the COVID-19 pandemic brings many uncertainties, TriMet is seeking input from our community to provide safe, reliable and equitable service.  To this end, they are hosting three virtual open house events to share their plans for preserving service, jobs and safety in the coming year. Join by phone or CISCO Webex video chat and hear from our agency leaders on how we intend to begin our cautious come back. 
    • Video: Click here for Spanish (6/9), here for English (6/10) and here for English (6/11)
TriMet Webinars
  • Federal Transportation Update: The House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee on June 3 released the Investing in a New Vision for the Environment and Surface Transportation (INVEST) in America Act. The act would reauthorize federal surface transportation programs for five years, through FY 2024, as current program authorizations expire in less than four months—Sept. 30, 2020. Overall, the INVEST Act would provide nearly $500 billion, with $319 billion for federal-aid highway programs, $105 billion for transit, $60 billion for passenger rail, $5.3 billion for highway safety and $4.6 billion for motor carrier safety. You can read a brief summary of the legislation from the National Conference of State Legislatures here


  • Reopening Schools: Governor Brown and The Oregon Department of Education will be providing guidance on fall school reopening tomorrow! I will include information from this briefing in my next newsletter later this week.  You can check the ODE website tomorrow afternoon for updates. 
  • Anti-Racist work in our schools: Leaders at Forest Grove and Hillsboro School Districts have released statements and committed themselves to combatting systemic racism in our schools.  
    • Forest Grove School District:  "The issue of institutional racism is not just something that happens in other places, but it is here in the Forest Grove School District. We can see this in the disproportionate performance in student achievement and in discipline. Our system is not working well for every student. That is just the truth, and it feels hard to write that. However, acknowledging and accepting this is the first step in the solution.” -Dave Parker, superintendent of FGSD. You can read more about the FGSD commitment to eliminating racial disparities and systemic racism at the FGSD website, and in this article
    • Hillsboro School District: “While we say goodbye to our seniors and begin preparations to welcome new students next fall, we must continue to strive for a better future. A future that continually addresses the biases and racial assumptions that hurt people of color and includes structures that begin to heal the wounds of racism. A future in which we dedicate ourselves to uniting against violence and the oppression of others. An inclusive future in which all voices are elevated and valued.” - Superintendent Mike Scott and School Board Chair Erika Lopez. You can read their entire statement here
  • Oregon State University Extension Service-Education Resources: OSU has great education resources for students of all ages and interests, including gardening, animals, cooking and more! Click on the image below for more information. 
OSU Extension Service-Youth Learning

Unemployment Update

If you have returned to work full time, you should stop filing benefits, even if you have not received all of the weeks of benefits from the weeks you weren’t working. OED will continue to process and pay your claims for the weeks you were eligible, although, as we all know, they are still behind in getting through the many weeks of claims. 

“Waiting Week”:

The waiting week work is in the queue for OED to address.  Initial analysis showed that it would take thousands of hours of work to reprogram the system to eliminate the “waiting week”.   There is some other work that still has to be done before OED can get to work on this, and while doing that other work they are also exploring whether there are ways to get it done more quickly than the thousands of hours of work our prior analyses showed. Once the department has a strategy for doing the reprogramming necessary, they will let us all know the process for claiming those benefits.  

Regular Unemployment:

The Employment Department has made progress in getting through the backlog of initial applications.  This does not mean that all the claims processed have been approved or paid, but it is the first step for getting anyone the benefits they deserve and need.  

Unemployment Claims Update
Project Focus 100

Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA):

The automated calls and emails to people who filed for PUA and whose applications are not yet processed have been completed for the initial applications received in the wave of the application opening.  The Employment Department is now doing email notifications each week for new PUA applications we receive that are not yet processed. If somebody filed for PUA more than three weeks ago, and did not yet get a confirmation, they should contact my office or the Employment Department.  

One wrinkle that may explain some of these, is that once an application is received, OED employees have to hand key some basic information into our systems in order for it to show that we have received the application. We are pretty caught up on these, but we had a large number of applications filed through the mail and fax that took a little bit longer to get keyed into our system. If somebody’s application was in that category, they would not receive that confirmation of the application having been filed until after OED employees were able to key it in.

PUA applicants now can call a dedicated line for help with their claims.  This line has only been open for a few days, but has already seen a high volume of calls and average wait times of about 1.5 hours, please be patient with OED and try to exhaust online tools before trying the phones.  

PUA Phone line: 503-370-5400 

833-410-1004 (toll free)

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 (http://www.oregonlegislature.gov/mclain), 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.  

Susan Photo

Yours truly,

Representative Susan McLain

Representative Susan McLain
House District 29

email: Rep.SusanMcLain@oregonlegislature.gov I phone: 503-986-1429
address: 900 Court St NE, H-376, Salem, OR 97301
website: http://www.oregonlegislature.gov/mclain