Masks, Transparent Policing, and Ways & Means

Senator Wagner

Mask Up, Oregon

Dear Friends and Neighbors,

In the last two weeks Oregon has set and broken numerous records for new daily COVID-19 cases, and twice passed 400 new cases in a single day. The Oregon Health Authority is attributing the rise in cases to diffuse community spread. All of us are eager to connect with the loved ones we’ve missed these past few months. Unfortunately, we’re still in the middle of this crisis and it’s important that we limit these in-person meetings as much as possible, ensure few people are present, ensure few people are in attendance, stay outside if possible, and wear masks. 

Our community, our children, and front line workers are relying on us. We want our kids back in school, our workers safe, and our medical facilities with capacity to treat the sick. In addition, our economy - which is fueled by our small businesses - are counting on us to help them stay open. Please, mask up for your family, your community, and all Oregonians.

Protect our Community by Wearing a Mask

Workplaces and Businesses

If you have concerns that your workplace or a local business is not appropriately enforcing the face-covering requirement, Oregon Occupational and Safety Hazard Assocation (OSHA) has an online form for individuals to report workplace hazards concerning COVID-19. Employees, employers and concerned citizens are able to submit reports regarding violations of state regulations.

Getting Outside:

Governor Brown announced last week that Oregonians would not only be required to wear face coverings indoors, but also outdoors when six-feet of physical distancing is not possible. Even when this kind of distance is possible, it's always smart to wear a mask in public spaces, whether you're enjoying the summer sunshine, taking a spin around your local track, or hiking in one of our beautiful parks. Getting outside is one of the best things we can do for our mental and physical health during these difficult times. Make sure you incorporate your mask into those routines and remember to wash it once you're home!

Hiking with masks

Hiking to Ramona Falls in the Mt. Hood National Forest this past weekend.

The Work Continues: Transparent Policing

Last week, the Joint Committee on Transparent Policing and Use of Force Reform met against a backdrop of continued tension between protestors and police in Portland. Demonstrators have been protesting in Portland every day for weeks in response to the unjust and racist murders of far too many, including George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and Ahmaud Arbery. Tensions are high in Portland due to an ongoing inappropriate use of force. The lack of successful de-escalation and anti-escalation tactics by law enforcement is a serious concern. The city needs real solutions and real change in order to provide a safe space to protest, speak out against injustice, and create a space for change.

Unfortunately, in a further escalation of tensions, federal agents have now been deployed onto the streets of Portland. Federal personnel have been documented acting violently against peaceful protests and inciting fear in the city. These paramilitary forces have been reported abducting civilian protesters in unmarked cars with no formal charges or notice of Miranda Rights. So far, one demonstrator has been hospitalized with several skull fractures after a federal officer shot him in the head with so-called “less lethal” munitions, and others have sustained injuries as well.

Yesterday, my colleague Senator James Manning released a statement on federal law enforcement in Portland - please click this link or the image below to read the full statement.


Governor Brown has called for federal law enforcement officers to leave Portland and has declared that federal agents are putting both protesters and local law enforcement in danger. Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler has also condemned these actions and called for federal agents to restrict themselves to the premises of federal buildings and to not interfere with local law enforcement action. Members of Oregon's Congressional delegation have demanded answers about the actions of federal officers and asserted that there will be accountability for illegal use of force. Oregon Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum has announced a lawsuit against federal agents for tactics deployed against protesters, as has the ACLU. In addition, Portland residents have spoken out to state that Portland is not a city under siege.

City and State officials have made it more than clear: we did not and do not ask for federal officers in Portland. We seek a resolution to tensions the Oregon way -listening to the hurt of our neighbors and working together to build a better community for tomorrow.

Upcoming Budget Meetings

Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, our state is facing an economic crisis that significantly impacts on our state budget. As we approach the next special session to address Oregon’s budget shortfall, each of the Joint Ways and Means Subcommittees are holding public hearings. My colleagues and I are committed to working to preserve the critical programs and services that Oregonians rely on most as we await further federal funding assistance.

Comprehensive information on the proposed reductions and the framework used by the Ways and Means Committee Chairs are available here:

Budget Co-Chairs Press Release

Ways and Means Co-Chair Principles

The meetings of the subcommittees are currently scheduled*:

*This schedule is subject to change. I encourage you to check back for details on these committee meetings on the OLIS calendar, or subscribe to the committees to receive immediate agenda-updates.

Senate District 19 - Student Spotlight

It's easy to think that the national issues we see on the news do not affect our own community. That's why it’s important that we acknowledge the local-level efforts to change our communities for the better. Luckily, many of those efforts are happening right here in Senate District 19.

Barbara Chen, senior at Lake Oswego high school, creator of Students for Anti-Racist Curriculum

Barbara Chen (above) founded Students for Anti-Racist Curriculum as a response to her own experiences with racism in the Lake Oswego School District and participating in the Black Lives Matter movement. What started as a small group of friends discussing inclusivity with teachers has grown into a larger dialogue of curriculum transformation.

Now, Students for Anti-Racist Curriculum has expanded their mission to make the curriculum at all grades levels more inclusive of traditionally marginalized groups. They are advocating for Black Indigenous and People of Color (BIPOC) perspectives in history classes, expanding reading lists to Womxn and BIPOC authors in English classes, and teaching Queer health education. These students are leading with equity at the forefront. Barbara expresses the values of the group by saying: “I believe that it's important we create a more inclusive curriculum as it creates not only a more accurate image, but also allows students to understand the world better, as the under-representation in curriculum creates a false history for students to understand.”

Moving forward, the group is focused on continuing conversations with teachers, gathering an extensive list of inclusive textbooks, and active engagement with the student body of Lake Oswego and other local districts. Students for Anti-Racist Curriculum is advocating for a future that all students deserve: inclusivity in schools and an educational environment that rejects bigotry and encourages allyship. These students are an inspiration.

If you would like to see more from Barbara and Students for Anti-Racist Curriculum, they are currently working on a project to relaunch a People of Color led magazine founded by Lake Oswego Alumni: Color. 

News from OED

I continue to be deeply frustrated with the backlog of unpaid claims at the Oregon Employment Department and the terrible impact of delayed payments on the lives of so many Oregonians. However, progress is being made and OED recently launched a new Pandemic Unemployment Assistance form in partnership with Google. The new form is intended to speed up benefit processing and improve submission requests.

Given frustrations with long wait times and the necessity of constant calls to reach the OED, some Oregonians have begun using auto-dialers to try and get through to OED staff. Interim Director David Gerstenfeld is imploring Oregonians NOT to do this, as it has further burdened phone lines and increased wait times. Instead, the OED has published a new frequently asked questions page, a phone number (866-698-6155) for Oregonians requiring assistance in a language other than English, and a phone number (503-370-5400) for Oregonians who are self-employed. Instead of waiting on hold, you can also request a callback from the OED staff at this link.

If you are still having trouble reaching the Employment Department, please reach out to my office and we will do our best to assist you through this process.

Updates to Real ID from the DMV

Although the Real ID deadline has moved to October of 2021 due to the coronavirus pandemic, please plan ahead and try to complete the process sooner rather than later.

Oregonians now can choose to get a Real ID the next time they renew their driver's license or ID Card. On July 6, the Oregon DMV began issuing Real ID-compliant licenses and ID cards to Oregonians who meet the federal requirements and bring the required documentation to their DMV appointment. Although a standard license or ID card is still available, some choose to get a Real ID-compliant card so that they are prepared for changes to federal (TSA) travel requirements next year.

Getting a Real ID requires an in-person visit to a DMV office and presenting specific documentation before a card can be issued. This means you can’t obtain a Real ID card for the first time by using the DMV website to replace a card. Take a look at this site from the DMV to learn more about Real ID, including a tool to help you make a checklist of documents to bring so you are prepared for your appointment. You can also read about other forms of ID such as a passport that you can use instead of a card issued by DMV.

Parting Thoughts

We must continue to stay vigilant in containing the coronavirus in our state. Please follow the guidance from our public health and safety officials to keep our communities safe. Thank you for doing your part.

Please let me know if you need any assistance in the weeks ahead. My office and I will work to connect you with resources and get answers as quickly as possible.


Senate Majority Leader Rob Wagner
Senate District 19

email: I phone: 503-986-1719
address: 900 Court St NE, S-223, Salem, OR, 97301