June 19th Updates: Juneteenth, COVID-19, Town Hall, and other updates

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Dear Friends and Neighbors, 

It’s not too late to sign up for my Community Conversation with Rep Sollman and Senator Riley! 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 10 am  

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

How?  RSVPs here by 8 pm tonight (Friday June 19th), attendance will be limited to the first 100 RSVPs.  

Community Conversation: McLain, Sollman and Riley June 20

New Developments: COVID-19

  • Governor Kate Brown issued additional measures to mitigate the spread of the virus. Everyone in Washington, Multnomah, Clackamas, Hood River, Marion, Polk, and Lincoln County will be required to wear face coverings while in indoor public spaces, such as grocery stores and other businesses.This mandate will be effective beginning Wednesday, June 24.
Face Covering RequirementFace Covering Guidance
  • Reopening Update: several counties will be grouped together as regional units for future reopening decisions. This will apply to the tri-county area––Multnomah, Washington, and Clackamas Counties will be treated as a single unit in future reopening decisions. And Marion and Polk Counties, which each include parts of the City of Salem, will also be treated as a unit going forward. Both of these regions include a highly-connected urban area, making it difficult to monitor the disease based solely on the contours of county jurisdictional lines. As a result of these decisions, the entire tri-county region will remain in Phase 1 for at least 21 days after June 19 before the three counties together will become eligible for Phase 2.
  • Oregon DMV Reopening: 15 additional DMV field offices are scheduled to open Monday 6/22; these will offer the same limited in-person services as the already-reopened offices (things that can be done online won’t be done in-person). See the full list here: https://www.oregon.gov/odot/DMV/Pages/offices/index.aspx
    • You can sign up for an appointment at the DMV or get your business done online, using this form
    • So far the DMV has received approximately 165,000 appointment requests, of those:
      • ~127,000 people have been scheduled or are in the process of being scheduled (initial call-back has been made)
      • ~23,000 are in the queue awaiting a call-back
      • ~15,000 are closed-out (unable to reach customer, were able to complete their business online, were duplicate requests, etc.)
    • If you need to take a driving test, you will still need to use a 3rd party provider.  Find more info about third party testers here
    • As a reminder, the citation moratorium with law enforcement is in place through at least October 1, 2020 and depending upon how quickly we are able to make progress on the backlog, this moratorium may be further extended. This applies to expired licenses, permits, tags, etc. As long as regular rules of the road are followed (no speeding, DUII, etc.) then expired credentials should not be cited.
  • DEQ Vehicle Inspection Program
    • DEQ reopened several Vehicle Emissions testing facilities earlier this week. Due to the backlog (very similar to DMV’s backlog) DEQ’s VIP testing locations are experiencing heaving traffic volumes and long wait times as they begin to reopen. ODOT is partnering with DEQ and local officials to assist with traffic management in these areas.
    • Individuals may purchase a compliance certificate in lieu of having their vehicle tested, understanding that they will have to return prior to December 31, 2020 to complete a test.
    • Individuals may also use authorized 3rd parties to complete their VIP test using DEQ Too. More information about 3rd party testing locations can be found here. 
    • Find more information about DEQ test site locations here

Special Session

Next week will be the start of the first 2020 Special Session, where we will take action to address Coronavirus and Police Accountability.  The first committee meeting will be on Monday afternoon. This joint committee, made up of a bi-partisan group of Representatives and Senators, will review the draft legislation that the whole body will consider on Wednesday June 24th.  

The Capitol building will remain closed to the public during this special session, but walk up testimony will be available at the viewing station outside of the Capitol, where  anyone in Salem will be able to watch all proceedings on screens. Everyone else can watch any committee or floor session, as well as submit testimony to committee hearings, at the Oregon Legislative Information System (OLIS) site. Information on how to submit written testimony to committees can be found here

Employment Update

Scam warning!

We have heard that there are folks in Oregon that have received scam emails related to unemployment claims.  These scammers have mimicked legislator emails, and sent constituents messages that ask for “refundable fees” to be paid before benefits can be processed, or have asked for private information with the promise that benefits could be paid within 48hours.  

If you receive any email requesting a payment for processing of a UI Claim, it is a scam.  

If you suspect you are being scammed:

  • If you receive an email or text you think may be from a scammer posing as the employment department or legislator, first, do not click on any links and do not respond. You can file a complaint at www.oregonconsumer.gov  or call 877-877-9392.

Regular Unemployment FAQ-Update

The Employment Department is providing us regular updates to a running list of Frequently Asked Questions.  You can view that entire FAQ, including previous weeks updates here.  Below are some highlights from the most recent update.  

How do I use my Reliacard? 

  • No matter what payment type you sign up for, your first payment will come as a paper check. After that, your benefits should appear in your checking account via direct deposit or on your Reliacard, depending on which option you choose. Your unemployment benefit or PUA benefit and the $600 additional payment will always post as two separate transactions. 
  • Using a “US Bank” or any “Money Pass” ATM is free, even if you do not have a US Bank account.

Can OED provide the number of cases that have not been processed and the number of people waiting to receive benefits? 

  • It would also be useful to know about any updates to the average timeline to process regular UI, PUA, and PEUC applications.
  • OED is working on better metrics. They created a new data dashboard on their website that has some of this information, but not all of it. OED will continue to work on more ways to track and report in a meaningful way. The ‘number of people waiting to receive benefits’ is a key data point but it is hard to track because of the many reasons an individual might still be waiting for benefits.

If my “return to work” date is incorrect, do I have to reapply and go to the end of the queue? What recommendations are there for people in this situation?

  • In non-pandemic times, when somebody tells OED they anticipate returning to work at a particular time, their system automatically pauses payments on a claim so their employees can review the claim and make sure the person is still eligible for benefits. This works well in normal times, but creates obvious problems now. OED has made changes to their system to automatically stop some claims from pausing. For many scenarios, however, the effort to stop that automatic pausing is very time intensive for our technical team. OED does have employees that are manually reviewing these claims, proactively removing those pauses many times before the person knows it was there. For some scenarios, they do have to get information from you, and they are calling to get the information needed to have payments resume. They are not yet able to prevent ALL of the claims from pausing payments, unfortunately.
  • OED recommends restarting your claim in this situation because it is not as time consuming, for you or their employees, as filing a brand new claim. You should not have to wait the same amount of time as though you just filed a brand new claim. If you see this happen on your claim, try to call and let them know and usually be resolved by phone. I know that reaching OED is difficult, but they continue to make progress in answering more calls and shortening how long people have to wait to get through. You can also call any local WorkSource center and ask them to restart your claim http://worksourceoregon.org/Centers.html 

What does claim restart mean?

Can I file a claim for UCX (unemployment compensation for former service-members) using the regular unemployment insurance online claims system?

  • Yes, you can. These claims are more complicated and take longer to process as OED is required by federal law to get information from the military before paying UXC benefits, but you can file your claim using the regular online claims system.

Pandemic Unemployment Assistance FAQ:

This is a new resource produced by the employment department, answering questions specific questions related to the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program, providing benefits for workers traditionally ineligible for UI.  The entire FAQ is available here, and some highlights are listed below.  

Why is it taking so long to get a PUA claim into the system so I can get my money?

  • All PUA claims must be entered into the system manually. PUA is not automated right now. OED has had to create an entirely different claims process outside their normal system.

How many PUA claims have been filed so far? How many have been processed?

  • OED has received 97,000 applications for PUA, this means 97,000 Oregonians have applied. Of those, they have determined that about 24,000 of those people are eligible for PUA benefits and they have paid just under 17,000 of those people about $90 million in benefits. OED has about 70,000 PUA claims left to enter into the new system for processing. This number may be less but they still have to determine if these people are eligible for regular UI claims before they can pay PUA benefits.

What are you doing to address this backlog of unpaid PUA claims?

  • OED is redeploying efforts to concentrate on Focus PUA which centers around three key elements:
    • Improving the speed at which they can process claims over time;
    • Improving the technology used to receive and process claims; and
    • Increasing proactive communications to claimants.
  • OED has assigned more people to do this work, and they are gaining experience each day. There was a pent up need for these benefits even before PUA became law. Demand for these benefits kept growing, and OED was hiring, training, and adjusting the program from the onset to meet federal guidelines and to ensure they were prepared to respond – the steep part of the learning curve has passed and we are getting faster at processing PUA claims. Last week, OED added 138 additional phone lines and is working on adding another 150 lines in the next couple of weeks.

I have received partial payment (or even full payment) now I’m waiting for my weekly payments. Has there been any information regarding this?

  • OED is working to minimize the number of claims that are ‘paused.’ For PUA specifically, this is sometimes due to the weekly claims needing to be manually keyed into their system by employees. PUA is a manual process.

What happens with people that have both 1099 and W-2 income? For example, if an independent contractor has more than $1,000 in W-2 income, only the W-2 income is used to calculate the PUA benefit and the 1099 income isn’t considered. In other words, someone who earns $50,000 in 1099 income and $3,000 in W2 income would only have the PUA benefit calculated from the $3,000 not $53,000.

  • There are several issues here. The first is whether the person had enough traditional employment income to be eligible for regular UI benefits. Some people get earnings reported to them on a 1099 form, but it is still considered employment covered by Oregon’s UI system. OED is required to pay someone under the regular UI system if they are eligible for any regular UI benefits (in Oregon or any other state). In this situation, it is only their earnings that were subject to the UI system that are used to determine their UI benefit amount (again, regardless of what tax form the earnings were reported on). If someone is not eligible for regular UI, but has both non-UI covered income (as an independent contractor) and covered UI income (from traditional employment, for example), OED does use both their gross income from covered UI employment, and their net income from self-employment.

Why aren’t PUA weekly certifications getting any confirmation that uploads are actually received?

  • OED is continuing to work to improve the PUA weekly certification process. OED did not want to wait to start processing PUA claims, so some initial certifications did not receive confirmation numbers. That technical enhancement has now been connected to the system and OED recently started providing confirmation numbers when weekly certifications are uploaded, as well as email confirmations.

OED stated that any PUA claim from an Uber or Lyft driver goes straight to the tax department. How long does it take to clear the tax department? Why does it need to go to the tax department? And will they not be able to approve my claim until Uber agrees that drivers are "employees" and agrees to pay the UI insurance for us?

  • OED cannot disclose information about individual employers or businesses. OED is required to determine if someone was an employee or independent contractor under state law. OED does not have to wait for a business, or worker, to agree on their status. Lack of agreement does not prevent OED from paying benefits, however the nature of this work takes time.
Project Focus Update

OED’s Claims Progress report now includes information on PUA applications. Click the image for more information.

Case Data

  • National Numbers: 
    • Confirmed Cases: 2,178,710 (up 23,138 from yesterday)
    • Deaths: 118,365 (up 733 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 6,572 total cases (confirmed and presumptive) of COVID-19.  Today we have 206 new confirmed and presumptive cases.  Tragically we have had a total of 188 Oregonians die from COVID-19.  Washington County still has one of the highest case counts at 992 confirmed cases.  You can review on-going updates from OHA by clicking on the table below. 
Daily Update June 19

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.

Other Important Updates

Celebrating Juneteenth

Today is Juneteenth, a holiday to commemorate the arrival of Union soldiers on June 19, 1865 in Galveston, Texas with news that the Civil War had ended and that slavery was abolished, freeing those still enslaved. Juneteenth is a day to celebrate freedom, reflect on Oregon and America’s historical and contemporary policies and practices of oppression, to celebrate Black joy, and honor the many contributions Black Americans have made to the advancement of freedom and justice for all. If you’d like to learn more about the history of Juneteenth you can check out this OPB Report or attend one of these virtual celebrations: 

Black Like Me Juneteeth Livestream Event - Friday, June 19, 2020, 5:30 pm - 7:30 pm

Juneteenth Oregon 2020 Celebration Livestream Event - Saturday, June 20, 2020, 1 pm - 5 pm

Juneteenth-Clack Lives Matter and Celebration of Black Joy and Power

Black Lives Matter demonstrations and celebrations of Black joy and power in Washington County

Recent Supreme Court Decisions

Workplace Protections for LGBTQ+ Americans

On Monday the Supreme Court made workplace protections a reality for LGBTQ+ Americans across the country! These protections have been real in Oregon for years, and now they extend nationwide.  Essentially the ruling states that discrimination based on sex, gender, sexual identity, or gender presentation is not allowed in any workplace.  There is still a lot of work to be done to make sure that our LGBTQ+ friends, family and neighbors have true equality under law.  In particular, we have a lot to do to be sure that Transgender Oregonians and Americans have the same rights to healthcare as their Cisgendered naighbors.  You can read more about this landmark decision in this article from OPB.  

Protections for DACA Recipients

Another important decision from the Supreme Court this week, was a case relating to the DACA program, which provides legal status and protections from folks that came to the US as children.  These Dreamers are integral members of our communities and economies, and I am so relieved that the program has been upheld.  There are 11,300 young Dreamers in Oregon, paying $2 billion in Social Security Taxes, and $470 million into Medicare.  To strip them of their legal status would be devastating to our community and our state.  You can read more about the ruling in this article.  

The work to protect DACA and our Dreamers is not done.  The ruling did not create permanent processions, and left the door open for the program to be ended in other ways.  Luckily, we have fantastic advocates here in Oregon, providing resources for immigrant Oregonians and Dreamers.  One of those organizations is Causa, and they have compiled this resource page (available in English and Spanish).  You can also watch the video below to for more information on the ruling. 

DACA Decision Video

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.

Beautiful Coastal Sunset and Mt. Hood

Nature is out there and waiting for great outings this summer.  Enjoy these opportunities but follow public health advice: keep your distance, keep social interactions outside where possible, wash hands frequently, wear face coverings in public, and stay home when sick.

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