Do What You Can Do 7/17/2020

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Senator Jeff Golden

 *  “I am only one, but still I am one. I cannot do everything, but still I can do something; And because I cannot do everything I will not refuse to do the something that I can do.” 
—Helen Keller


We’ve enjoyed your recent photos of beautiful Southern Oregon so much that we want to share more. This photo Pearsoney Falls was provided by Chuck and Susan Lacey. Have a photo you've taken and want to share with us? Send it to with the subject “Photo Reminder.” We’ll use some in future newsletters.

Keeping Current on COVID

     Oregon’s infection rate seems to be stabilizing at a starkly higher rate than we saw in May and June. The pattern shows up in the daily update from the Oregon Health Authority (you can see it here). Today it reports 307 new cases in the state; it was well over 400 earlier in the week.

     That daily number stayed in the 40-80 range just a few weeks ago. Governor Brown sounded a sharp alarm at her Monday press conference, where she announced two new protective measures, about 7:00 into the video. Social gatherings in private premises (not restaurants, churches, businesses open to the public) are now limited to ten people. And the face mask requirement we already had for public indoor spaces now applies to outdoor locations where six-foot social distancing isn’t reliably in place. “We need to do absolutely everything we can,” she said, “to reduce transmission in ways that do not require us to close down businesses again.”

     She also acknowledged the difficulty of enforcing these and earlier rules. There are available tools—citations, fines, suspension of business licenses—but that would move us into a social environment and level of conflict that nobody wants to see. “I’m not going to set up the Party Police,” the Governor said more than once. The Governor, like most of her counterparts around the country, is working in the very difficult zone of laying down rules—not suggestions—without strong coercion. Will it work? It will if enough of us understand that our collective actions now—masking, distancing, reducing non-essential activity around others—shape the plan for responsible re-opening in months to come.

     The example that’s drawing the most attention right now surrounds the question of opening schools in the fall. OPB covered it well this week. I’m struck by how much agreement there is that the stakes are very high here. Kids have already paid a big price in terms of learning and social development, and if they’re not in school the scope of what their parents can do, their role in the economy, is badly damaged. The Governor’s statement yesterday zeroed in on the issue and announced a Task Force to bring back a plan quickly enough for school districts to finalize their plans. Our educators are another group whose work has been made so much harder by the virus.


What else is happening?                                                                                         
On Monday the Legislative Emergency Board—a committee with Senators and Representatives from both parties—dealt out another $200 million from the federal CARES act. Here’s what they did.

     The $50 million you see on the list for cultural organizations and venues recognizes how important they are as economic engines for some of our communities. In fact the biggest single allotment from that pot is a $4.7 million grant to the Oregon Shakespeare Festival. We’re working to see if other Rogue Valley venues can get into the program.

     My only other comment on this list is on the last item, the $500 checks to households that still haven’t received unemployment compensation after months of waiting. The idea was to get relief to families who are getting close to desperation and a little tired of being told to be patient. Details on how to access those grants are on their way to legislative offices right now. I’ll pass them on to you as soon as I can.

     Meanwhile we’re still waiting to hear when we’ll be called back to Salem for a special session to make painfully deep cuts in the current state budget; likely dates are August 10-12. We had hoped to find out beforehand whether the U.S. Senate would agree to an additional Covid relief package already passed by the House, which has enough support for state governments to make our task much easier. But all of that is still in play.

    Right now leadership in Salem is deciding whether or not to include non-budgetary policy bills on the special session agenda. They see it as a Pandora’s box: just about every legislator is eager to get one or more bills passed as soon as possible, especially those that had enough votes to pass in last February’s regular session but died because of the walk-outs.  I know that I'm eager; I have a bill that could help pay for reducing and fighting wildfires. I’ve made a spirited case to legislative leaders that mobilizing for Covid has pretty much stopped the progress we’d made preparing for catastrophic wildfire, and we have to find ways keep moving forward. I should find in the next few days how persuasive I was.


That’s it for this week. Stay in touch, and do what you can do.


Senator Jeff Golden, Oregon Senate District 3

Important Updates

  • The Oregon Employment Department has a new website, which has been created to make information more accessible as well as accelerate the claims process. Visit this page for answers to frequently asked questions regarding eligibility, how to apply, and more.

  • Visit this page if you filed for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance prior to 5/23/2020 or Regular Unemployment Insurance prior to 5/30/2020, to submit a contact form. This form will put you in direct contact with the Employment Department.

Current COVID Information

OHA Coronavirus Update Banner

COVID Resources

Business Resources:

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Social Services:

  • The National Alliance on Mental Illness has a helpline if you are struggling with mental illness in this stressful time, as well as many support groups of all kinds. The helpline is available from 9 AM to 5 PM at 503-230-8009, or toll-free at 800-343-6264. Visit their website here to find out more.

  • The Governor has created a Coronavirus FAQ for immigrants and refugees in a variety of languages.

  • Oregon Recovers has put together a list of resources for those struggling with addiction.
Grocery Store

Meals for All: 

  • Access has put together a lengthy list of local food pantries.

  • Oregon Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program Education’s Food Hero website with resources about meal budgeting, planning, and recipes. Its searchable database has plenty of quick, tasty, healthy and low-cost recipes.

  • The Oregon Food Bank has put together a "Food Finder" page to help locate local pantries and food assistance sites. 

Capitol Phone: 503-986-1703
Capitol Address: 900 Court St NE, S-421, Salem, OR, 97301 Email: Website: Facebook:
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