June 16th Update: COVID-19, Community Conversation, Employment and Higher Eeducation

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Dear Friends and Neighbors, 

I hope you will join Rep Sollman, Senator Riley and I, this Saturday, for a conversation about the upcoming Special Session, re-envisioning public safety in our community, COVID-19 and more.  You will be able to ask us questions and engage in productive and respectful conversation about the issues important to you and our community.  

When? Saturday, June 20th at 10am  

Where? Zoom (instructions will be sent out later this week to those who RSVP)

How?  My apologies to everyone who tried to RSVP since our last email, we have a corrected link for RSVPs here.  The deadline for RSVPs is 5pm on Friday June 19th, and attendance will be limited to the first 100 RSVPs.  

Community Conversation: McLain, Sollman and Riley June 20

Special Session

Governor Brown announced this morning that the legislature will be called into a Special Session on June 24th to tackle policy issues to address COVID-19 and police accountability.  The Special Session will likely last 3-5 days and social distancing, cleaning and other health practices are being developed and refined to make it as safe as possible for legislators and capitol staff.  Not all of the policies we will be considering have been finalized, but they will likely include technical fixes to help agencies manage backlogs from office closures, policies to address housing needs, and statutory changes to assist local governments as they adapt to remote meetings.  As I have mentioned in previous updates, we will also be considering bi-partisan legislation proposed by the Legislative People of Caucus to hold police in Oregon more accountable.  

The POC Caucus is requesting that a bill from the last two sessions regarding law enforcement disciplinary actions that go to arbitration be addressed in the Special Session. The concept has been approved twice unanimously by the Senate, as Senate Bill 383 (2019) and Senate Bill 1567 (2020). The new law would prohibit an arbitrator from lessening disciplinary action against a law enforcement officer if the arbitrator and the law enforcement agency determine that the officer has committed misconduct.  

Second, the POC Caucus has proposed a new legislative concept that would authorize and require the Attorney General to investigate and prosecute, if the evidence dictates, any death or serious physical injury resulting from the use of force by a law enforcement officer. Independent investigations are necessary for all cases where law enforcement kills or seriously injures civilians, and the Oregon Department of Justice is the appropriate agency to be assigned this task. 

Case Data

  • National Numbers: 
    • Confirmed Cases: 2,104,346 (up 18,577 from yesterday)
    • Deaths: 116,140 (up 496 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 6,098 total cases (confirmed and presumptive) of COVID-19.  Today we have 278 new confirmed and presumptive cases.  Tragically we have had a total of 182 Oregonians die from COVID-19.  Washington County still has one of the highest case counts at 928 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 16

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.
Epidemiological Curve, new cases by symptom onset date

Epidemiological Curve, new cases by symptom onset date

Higher Education

New Public Health Guidelines for Resuming In-Person Higher Education Activities

At the direction of Governor Brown, effective June 14, 2020, in-person instruction, research, and residential activities at Oregon colleges and universities can resume, but only if institutions meet minimum COVID-19 public health standards adopted by the Oregon Health Authority. See Executive Order 20-28 applying to all degree-granting public and private colleges and universities in Oregon. In conjunction with this directive, the OHA and HECC today released new Public Health Guidelines for the Conduct of In-person Instructional, Residential, and Research Activities at Oregon Colleges and Universities. The Governor's  executive order will replace the previous executive orders pertaining to higher education (20-17 and 20-09) that are effective through June 13, 2020. Each college and university will have the flexibility to determine how and when students return to campus, but must meet, at a minimum, the public health requirements contained in the guidance.

The guidelines set minimum public health requirements to be followed generally campus-wide that include but are not limited to:

  • Implementing measures to limit the spread of COVID-19 within buildings and the campus setting, such as appropriate cleaning and disinfecting procedures; screening, monitoring, and testing for illness among symptomatic students, staff, and faculty; and use of face coverings.
  • Permitting remote instruction/telework or other significant accommodations for students and employees who are at higher risk for severe illness from COVID-19.
  • Recommending the use of face coverings for all students, staff, and faculty, in accordance with local public health, OHA, and CDC guidelines.
  • Requiring face coverings where physical distancing measures are difficult to maintain.
  • Working with their local public health authority (LPHA) to ensure they are able to effectively respond to and control outbreaks through sharing of information when appropriate.

The guidelines additionally detail other specific requirements related to: entry and self-screening, instructional settings, isolation measures, health-related communication, hand hygiene and respiratory etiquette, facilities, faculty and staff, research settings, residential services settings, Communicable Disease Management Plans, and campus operational plans.

See full guidance here. I encourage students and/or parents to reach out to the school directly to talk with admissions to find out what the school is planning and where the student can go to get up-to-date information. 

Employment Update

Thank you to everyone who has contacted my office to share their stories and seek help with navigating Unemployment Insurance.  We are doing all we can to advocate for your cases, and for the entire system to work more efficiently.  

While there is still a lot of work to be done to get benefits out the door to everyone who needs them, I am heartened by the sincere and earnest efforts I have seen so far from Interim Director Gerstentfeld.  Since he took control of the agency, we have seen improvements in our communications with the department and with their public communications.  I recently corresponded with Interim Director Gerstenfeld about potential solutions to the backlog, and he is ready and willing to explore creative solutions from inside and outside the department.  We still face several technological barriers, as well as difficulties navigating federal requirements for regular UI and PUA, but I hope we will be able to find solutions.  Below are some frequently asked questions and answers, compiled by Speaker Kotek and the Employment Department.  

Is there anything I can do to help ensure that the Employment Department can reach me if they call?

OED is making hundreds of calls each day. Many of these calls are routed through a call center and may come through as an out of state phone call. Or they may even be marked as spam, depending on the spam filter on your phone. If you are waiting for a call back from OED, disable the spam filter on your phone, and answer all calls. Be aware that the caller ID likely won’t say “Employment Department” and might not even have an Oregon area code.

How do I know the status of my claim?

You can check the status of your claim on the Oregon Employment Department’s website. Go to the Online Claim System at Employment.Oregon.Gov/OCS. Go to the “Status of Your Claim and Weekly Reports” section. It will show you which weeks you have claimed and if any benefits have been paid.

How long after my claim has been processed should I get a check? What if I don’t get a check?

Seeing that your claim has been processed does not necessarily mean you are eligible for benefits. There could be issues holding up payment. The best way to check if your claim has been processed or if your payments were sent is to visit the Online Claim System at Employment.Oregon.Gov/OCS. If you can see that your claim was processed, check the next day to see if payments were sent. Before contacting OED, wait for a notice from OED that says more information is needed.

When will I get my money?

Once your claim is approved, here is what you can expect:

  • After a weekly claim has been filed, benefits are issued on Tuesdays. Timing depends on the method of payment selected. Payments generally arrive within two to three business days. Payments may take longer to arrive if sent by mail.
  • If some weeks have paid, but others have been held up, then typically once the issues holding up any weeks are resolved, payments are issued the following business day (after overnight processing) and follow the same time frame described in the bullet above.

I got a letter that there is something wrong with my claim, but it doesn’t say what. What do I do with my claim now? Do I keep filing weekly as if everything is okay?

Yes, you should continue to claim as if everything is okay. Some common reasons why you will receive these letters are:

  • You reported that you either quit or were fired at the time you filed your initial claim.
  • Your claim is not valid because OED doesn’t have a record of sufficient wages.
  • You waited longer than a week to file a weekly claim and now must restart.
  • When you filed a weekly claim, you reported that you did not meet one of the eligibility criteria.

If I am ineligible for regular Unemployment Insurance (UI) benefits, but I think I am eligible for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) benefits, does OED automatically move my claim to PUA or do I need to file for it?

No, OED doesn’t automatically move an initial UI claim to PUA. Federal law requires that you apply for PUA benefits, so you will need to file a separate PUA claim at https://govstatus.egov.com/PUA.

What is the best contact for work share issues?



503-947-1800 or 800-436-6191

I worked out of state or partially out of state, or split my work between Oregon and a bordering state. Which state do I file with?

If all of your wages in 2019 were generated in another state, you likely need to file in that state. If you worked in Oregon in 2019, but also in another state, you may have a combined wage claim.

Out of state claims vary a great deal. If you worked out of state any time in the last 18 months, my office will flag your case as a potential out of state claim when we submit your information to the Employment Department and these claims may take a little longer to process. Not reporting when you have worked in another state can cause even bigger delays.

I was furloughed. Can I get unemployment if I was required to take a week off with no pay?

Yes, in general, people are potentially eligible for benefits for a one week furlough. If it is the first week on their claim, they will only receive credit for their waiting week at this time.

But I thought Oregon was eliminating the waiting week. Will they pay my claim retroactively if the waiting week is eliminated later?

Yes, any weeks claimed which serve as a waiting week on a claim OED anticipates paying retroactively after the programming is in place to eliminate the waiting week (unless the person has already received the maximum amount of benefits on their claim).

Do I qualify for the $600 federal benefit if I have two, non consecutive 1 week furloughs?

Yes, if you file weekly claims for both weeks and meet the weekly eligibility requirements, you should be eligible to receive one $600 Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC) for the second week only (assuming the first week serves as a waiting week).

If an applicant is found ineligible for benefits and needs to appeal, how long does it typically take to process that appeal?

I am hearing about some claims that seem to be incorrect denials (like they didn’t include information from the claimant’s latest employer who was the one that laid them off for COVID-related reasons) and people are concerned that they will be facing long waits to appeal these incorrect denials since it has been so hard for them to call in and discuss and resolve these issues in a timely manner.

It is taking, on average, about three to four weeks from when OED receives a hearing request to when the hearing is held. OED is bringing on additional staff to assist with the review and processing of these requests and anticipate that they will soon be able to reduce that average wait time by a week. When a hearing request is submitted, they encourage the person to submit any information they have that may show that OED’s decision was not correct. OED reviews that information and can make needed corrections without the person having to wait for the appeal hearing to take place.

How can I be prepared for an appeal hearing?

When a hearing request is submitted, you are encouraged to submit any available information that may show the OED decision was not correct. The information is reviewed, and needed corrections can be made without the person having to wait for the appeal hearing to take place. The Office of Administrative Hearings has independent administrative law judges who conduct these hearings, and it has comprehensive resources specific to unemployment appeals hearings at https://www.oregon.gov/oah/Pages/UI_Publications2.aspx.

How is OED assisting non-native English claimants?

The department has partnered with a number of organizations to assist claimants. Examples include Catholic Charities, Lutheran Community Services NW, SOAR/Ecumenical Ministries, IRCO, Legal Aid Service of Oregon, and the Oregon Law Center. The department is also working with the Oregon Higher Education Coordinating Commission’s (HECC) Office of Workforce Investments on a proposal to fund a hotline through our nonprofit workforce partner Worksystems, Inc. The goal for this hotline is to assist callers with limited English proficiency in filing unemployment insurance, PUA, and PEUC claims over the phone. The partnership with the HECC Office of Workforce Investment has also helped with video production in nine languages to date, with many more in progress.

OED also has taken other actions such as creating resource pages in 15 languages other than English, and the option for people to call any WorkSource center to file a claim over the telephone where we have many bilingual employees and telephone translators available to help. To receive a callback in a language other than English, any customer or advocate can send the customer’s name, phone number, and requested language to us at OED_LanguageAccess@oregon.gov.

Project Focus 100 Update

Claims progress as reported by The Oregon Employment Department

Additional Resources

Employers and Employees

Education Links

Local Government

Utilities Assistance

Food and Housing Assistance



Oregon Health Authority


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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.  

Wear Masks/Face Coverings

Remember to keep wearing your mask to protect your family, friends, and neighbors! Cornelius Mayor Jeff Dalin and I are committed to protecting our community by wearing maks!

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