July 10th Update: Community Conversation Tomorrow, COVID-19, Unemployment and more!

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Dear Friends and Neighbors, 

I hope you are all enjoying the great weather today, and hope you will join me and community leaders for a conversation on re-imagining public safety in Washington County tomorrow morning, July 11th at 10 am.  You can register here by 6 pm tonight! (More details found later in the newsletter).  

My office is all hands on deck working on unemployment and school reopening preparations. I hope you are all taking advantage of summer and taking care of your families and yourselves! 

Purple Flower

Beautiful blooming flowers in Washington County!

New Developments

  • Preschool Promise Grants: Congratulations to the providers in our community who received Preschool Promise Grants! Washington County was awarded 324 slots across several awardee organizations.  These grants will allow some of our most vulnerable neighbors to receive much needed support and learning opportunities.  Congratulations to:
  • Food, Cash and Childcare Resources:  The Department of Human Services has created a new tool for applying for benefits.  You can now apply for cash, food and childcare assistance all at once and in one place.  Learn more here. Locally, Hillsboro School District has updated their summer meals sites, details can be found here.  Forest Grove School District has summer meals information here.
Food Resources
  • Minimum Wage Increase: Oregon's minimum wage depends on work location and increases every year on July 1st. The minimum wage is $11.50 per hour in non-urban areas, $12.00 per hour in standard counties, and $13.25 per hour in the Portland metro area. You can view a map and explainer below.  The law requires that you be paid at least Oregon’s minimum wage, with few exceptions. If you are paid by piece rate, per hour, by commission, or paid by the day, your wages still have to add up to at least minimum wage for each hour you worked, and tips cannot be counted as wages.  Learn more about Oregon minimum wage, and your rights as a worker from the Bureau of Labor and Industry.
Minimum Wage Increase

Policing and Public Safety Updates

Community Conversation on Reimagining Public Safety in Washington County

It’s not too late to sign up for this Community Conversation on Reimagining Public Safety in Washington County, taking place tomorrow July 11th from 10 am to 11:30 am.  I will be joined for this conversation by Washington County Sheriff Pat Garrett, Maria Caballero-Rubio (Executive Director of Centro Cultural, President of the Human Rights Council of Washington County, and Latino Policy Council member), Nafisa Fai (public health expert, small business owner, and candidate for Washington County Board of Commissioners), Janie Schutz (Relationship Manager at the Center for Policing Equity, and former Forest Grove Chief of Police), and Erika Lopez (Chair of the Hillsboro School Board). 

I am so honored to have these community leaders lending their time and expertise to this conversation.  The conversation will center around 2 main themes: 

  1. Modern Policing and Public Safety: the practices, goals, and priorities of our public safety system, and what we’d like our system to look like
  2. Accountability, Transparency and Oversight: what accountability practices are in place now, and what changes are needed, and how can and should the community be involved in oversight

Many folks have already submitted some great questions to inform our discussion, and we will hold some time at the end of the event for live Q&A.  Please Register by 6pm tonight to receive the zoom link and instructions. 

Event Flyer

Joint Committee On Transparent Policing and Use of Force Reform

This week, The Joint Committee On Transparent Policing and Use of Force Reform held its first meetings.  These meetings were largely informational, with presentations from experts on many different topics related to policing ranging from public health, protest, use of force, modern policing, training, the militarization of police, and much more. These meetings are an excellent resource if you are interested in learning more about the way policing works in many parts of Oregon, best practices in use, and the many areas in need of improvement. 

Wednesday’s meeting had expert testimony on the topics below, you can watch the meeting here and view materials and testimony here.  

  • Policing and Public Health Outcomes
  • Distinguishing Constitutional Freedoms from Violence
    • Progression of Protected Rights in Speech and Action
    • Balancing First Amendment Rights with Law Enforcement Officer Duties and Obligations
    • Anatomy of a Protest
  • Officer-Involved Deadly Use of Force Cases in the Courtroom
    • Understanding the Reasonableness Standard in Deadly Use of Force
    • Use of Expert Testimony
    • Jury Instructions

Thursday’s meeting had discussion and testimony on these topics.  You can watch the meeting here and view materials and testimony here.  

  • Models for Modern Policing 
    • Best Practices for Recruiting, Hiring, and Maintaining Wellness of Officers
    • Community Policing Models
    • Law Enforcement Partnerships with Mental Health Teams
  • Economics of Policing
    • Qualified Immunity and Suits Against Law Enforcement Agencies
  • Examining Law Enforcement Training in Oregon 
    • Department of Public Safety Standards and Training (DPSST) Scope of Authority
  • Whistleblower Protections Under State and Federal Law 

Today’s meeting had discussion and testimony on these topics.  You can watch the meeting here and view materials and testimony here.  

  • The Impact of Militarized Policing on the Public 
    • Crowd Control Techniques
    • Uniforms and Gear
    • Weapons and Munitions
  • Examining the Use of Force Continuum 
    • Tools and Techniques of the Use of Force Continuum
    • Standards in Use of Force

Governor Brown’s Public Safety Training and Standards Task Force

In addition to the Legislative Committee, Governor Brown has also created a Task Force on Public Safety Training and Standards, and announced the membership of that committee this week.  The Task Force is charged with recommending to the Governor improvements in the training and certification of Oregon law enforcement officers. To complete its charge, members of the Task Force will:

  • Review current Oregon statutes and administrative rules on police training and certification.
  • Identify gaps in current statute, administrative rules, and policies governing officer training and certification.
  • Recommend how to apply best practices, research and data to officer training and certification.
  • Provide recommendations on how to best incorporate concepts of racial equity into officer training and certification requirements.
  • Provide recommendations on use of force training, including best practices of how to incorporate concepts of officer use of the least amount of necessary force to accomplish a lawful objective and de-escalation during a use of force event.
  • Provide recommendations on the composition of the Board on Public Safety Standards and Training and how to include additional public participation and inclusion of communities of color.
  • Provide recommendations on statutory requirements for officer decertification.

You can read the Governor's complete news release on the make up the committee here, or view the member list here

COVID-19 News

Case Data

  • National Numbers: 
    • Confirmed Cases: 3,106,931 (up 59,260 from yesterday)
    • Deaths: 132,855 (up 799 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 10,881 total cases (confirmed and presumptive) of COVID-19.  Today we have 275 new confirmed and presumptive cases.  Tragically we have had a total of 232 Oregonians die from COVID-19.  Washington County still has one of the highest case counts at 1764 cases, including 44 new cases today.  You can review on-going updates from OHA by clicking on the table below. 
  • 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. 


Daily Update July 10th

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

Contact Tracing:

With COVID-19 cases increasing in Oregon over the past several weeks, answering the call from a contact tracer is an important way we can work together to help stop the spread of the virus. Contact tracers reach out to anyone who may have been exposed to COVID-19 to provide information and support. If you don’t answer calls from phone numbers you don’t recognize, don’t worry, contact tracers will leave a message asking you to call them back.

If you have been exposed to the virus, you will be asked to quarantine for 14 days after you were near someone with COVID-19, even if you don’t feel sick. This is because you can spread the virus, even if you don’t have symptoms.

OHA has developed a webpage with fact sheets and other downloadable resources about contact tracing that will help you know what to expect if you or someone in your household gets a call: 

Contact Tracing

Reopening Update:

Reopening Map

Board Chair Kathryn Harrington recently issued this statement on Washington County remaining in Phase 1 of reopening, you can read the entire message here

“The tri-county region is not ready to apply for Phase 2 of reopening.

As a community it is now in our hands to slow the spread of COVID-19. We have all heard this before but it bears repeating, the individual choices we make impact our community’s ability to slow this virus. That means we all need to continue to limit our social gatherings, to stay close to home and to follow the Governor’s order to wear face coverings.


We are looking at: 

  • the increase in cases, 
  • the percent of our tests that are positive, 
  • the number of cases we cannot link to other cases, and 
  • a trend that we are seeing in increased hospitalizations.  

We are watching the data closely and talking with Multnomah and Clackamas counties about their data to determine how and when to apply for Phase 2.


Public health is doing its part. Now, as a community, it’s time for us to ensure we are doing ours. We have about 115 people (including case interviewers, case investigators, contact tracers, epidemiologists, nurses, support and essential needs staff) doing this work and by next week will hire another 20 people. 

Some have asked about why Washington County seeks to be “de-coupled” from Clackamas and Multnomah counties with respect to moving in or out of the Governor’s phases for reopening. 

What we asked the Governor was to consider “de-coupling” on a case-by-case basis. So if one county is not hitting their numbers but the other two have satisfied all six criteria, we wanted to be able to ask for consideration. Right now, this is not an issue as we are all struggling to hit the required public health criteria.

We have been, and continue to, work regionally. Our public health is a tri-county effort with our public health officers working together. We are working on a tri-county social media and public relations effort right now to ensure we have consistent messaging across the region. One of the main areas of focus is the use of face coverings.

Finally, please remember:

  • Face coverings reduce the spread by blocking droplets and are required in all indoor public spaces, except on those under 12 or with a medical condition that prevents them from wearing one. 
  • Continue to keep your “social bubble” small, reintroducing friends and family slowly, outdoors whenever possible.
  • Prevention measures — hand washing, face coverings, and sanitizers — are still needed in any gathering, especially when we are socializing with family and close friends from different households.
  • Continue to keep activities close to home.”
Best Practices to Stay Healthy and Safe


Emergency Board Action

Yesterday, Speaker Kotek and President Courtney issued a statement calling for $500 relief payments to all individuals still waiting for the unemployment benefits to be paid out. Their joint press release is available here.  This payment is a critical stop-gap for the nearly 70,000 Oregonians who are still waiting for unemployment benefits from the state. Oregonians need help now and we can utilize the limited resources at our disposal to get direct relief into people's hands while the Employment Department continues to process claims.  I support this proposal completely and will vote for it when the Emergency Board meets next Tuesday July 14th.  A few more details about the proposal: 

  • It will allow the Employment Department to continue working through the backlog without impeding their work. The proposal would direct a different agency, the Department of Administrative Services, to develop a simple process where Oregonians who have been waiting for benefits from the Oregon Employment Department can apply. The agency would then issue a $500 payment to those individuals as soon as possible.
  • These one-time payments would not be linked to their future benefits. Individuals who have filed for, but not yet received, benefits from either the Unemployment Insurance program or the Pandemic Assistance Unemployment program would be eligible.

These payments are not a substitute for continuing to work to speed up the claims process, but they will hopefully provide some much needed breathing room to Oregonians.  The delays at the Oregon Employment Department are the result of the historically high number of claims filed since the start of the pandemic, the requirements of new benefits designed by the federal government, and the constraints of an inflexible legacy computer system. All across the country, state's are having difficulty processing PUA claims but Democrats are taking proactive steps to help get money to Oregonians in need.

Updates from the Employment Department

Interim Employment Director, David Gerstenfeld, held a media briefing this week to provide more information on the current status of Unemployment.  You can watch or listen to the entire briefing or read the helpful summary provided by the department (at the end of this section). The Employment Department has also updated their website with more information in a more usable format.  

The information provided is helpful in understanding the timelines we are facing and what the best practices are for helping the department process all the claims in waiting.  Unfortunately, the information from the department tells us that many claimants, especially those applying for PUA or waiting for adjudication of their claims, may still have a long wait ahead.  If you are one of those individuals please reach out to my office if you need help connecting to resources for food, housing, utilities or other necessities.   

My office has been working to help constituents that have been waiting to hear from the Employment Department on their Unemployment Insurance and Pandemic Unemployment Assistance claims. Most Oregonians have had their claims processed, but others have been waiting 12-14 weeks with no resolution and this is unacceptable. It is best to connect to your legislator directly to have them contact the Employment Department on your behalf. Use this link to find your legislator. If you live in my district, HD 29, please send us the following information to help us move your claim to the Employment Department more effectively and efficiently.

  • Name
  • Phone Number
  • Email Address
  • Mailing Address
  • Customer ID#/ or Confirmation #/ or last 4 of SSN
  • Initial Filing Date
  • Last Contact with Employment Department
  • Type of Claim (Regular UI, PUA, Adjudication, Restart)

New Unemployment FAQs:

OED Media Briefing

If someone files an initial claim for regular unemployment, it will take up to four weeks to process the claim.

If an issue arises that requires adjudication, this may result in a significant delay of 12 to 14 weeks from when OED is able to identify that issue. This is due to the sheer volume of claims requiring review and the federal laws requiring OED to ensure people are eligible for benefits. Common issues that require adjudication include:

  • If somebody quits or is fired from their job, determining if the circumstances disqualify them from getting benefits
  • If somebody does not accept work that is offered to them, or is not available for work, finding out if the circumstances disqualify them from getting benefits
  • For people who work for educational institutions, every break between school years or terms, OED must adjudicate whether they are likely to be doing the same type of work after the break as they did before to determine if they can receive benefits during the break.

 OED is doing everything possible to minimize the time it takes for a case to be adjudicated, including:

  • Hiring more adjudicators. Before the pandemic, Oregon had about 80 adjudicators; there are now have over 130 and OED is aggressively hiring with a target of getting to over 300. 
  • OED has created condensed training, reducing the normal training time from 15 weeks to 4; part of this is by having adjudicators specialize on particular issues so they can learn those completely and much more quickly start resolving issues.
  • Adjudicators continue to work overtime, knowing that so many Oregonians are depending on their work.

If someone has applied for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance, OED is still processing about 60,000 initial applications. If an individual has a claim has not yet been processed, those individual should not plan to receive PUA benefits until at least August 8. If someone filed their claim and received confirmation, they can check the status of their claim online rather than calling the PUA hotline because call volumes will continue to be high.

  • If an initial PUA claim was processed and someone received some benefits, they should expect to have stops and starts with benefits for the next few weeks. PUA applications and weekly certifications are still being manually processed, which means there are delays. OED asks people not to call if this is the only issue they are having with their claim. OED does have teams of people processing weekly PUA claims, and the high volume of calls means people that do have to talk to someone via phone in order to get any benefits are not able to.
  • In terms of calls to the hotline, OED expects call volumes to remain high for several more months. OED has added new phone lines, continues to hire and train staff, and has bolstered the infrastructure which is being battered by astounding numbers of calls.

OED knows that the best-case scenario is speaking directly to someone who can help. Unfortunately, it continues to prove to be extremely difficult for everyone to connect via phone due to the incredibly high volume of unemployment claims being received.

OED would like to provide the following guidelines for when to call the hotline, which they hope will save some time and frustration.

  • Someone should call OED if:
    • If they got a notification that there is an issue with their claim
    • If it has been 4 weeks or more since they’ve claimed (for regular benefits) and haven’t received payment or heard from OED.
    • If they can’t file online.
    • If they receive a letter of concern and need to provide OED with information.
    • To confirm/accept a CWC (combined wage claim) work up (wages from other states).

There are some instances where calling the hotline is not going to resolve the issue, and it may actually prevent others who need to get through from doing so.

  • You should not call OED if the reason is to:
    • Check the status of a claim. Please do this online.
    • See if a claim was received. A notice is sent.
    • Restart a claim or file a weekly claim. This can be done online. (If unable to do this online, then a call is needed).
    • See if a claim is being adjudicated. If it is, an adjudicator will reach out.  (Please remember that calls from OED are not identified on a phone as being from the Employment Department – it may show as an unknown number.)
    • Seek assistance with a ReliaCard. Call US Bank if there are issues with payments posting, or you need a PIN resent,
    • Applying for Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation—apply online. 

If an employer signed up for the Work Share program, expect to receive benefits about 8 weeks after they submit their application. In March of 2020, OED had 2-4 people handling Work Share claims. There currently are 105 and continued hiring is planned to get to the estimated 144 needed to fulfill the current need.

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.  

Masked Rep McLain

My daughter and I recently visited together with masks, we all have to do our best to protect ourselves and eachother!

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