Do What You Can Do 7/31/2020

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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

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This photo from Mount Ashland was provided by Sarah Settimo.
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Keeping Current on COVID

Oregon’s overall Covid infection curve isn’t changing. It’s moving upwards at a rate that will slow the state’s re-opening and reduce chances for face-to-face public education this fall.

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The spike is so severe in Umatilla and Morrow Counties that today the Governor throttled down on their allowed activities.  Jackson County currently has 106 active infectious cases, more than at any time since the virus arrived here, and recorded its first Covid death this week.

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And the Governor announced this week that Oregon schools could decide to open in the fall if and only if the state as a whole had Covid test results of less than 5% positive for three weeks in a row. We’ve mostly hovered just above that in the past month, so this doesn’t point to the likelihood of kids returning to their classrooms anytime soon.  The Medford School district announced that they’ll have to pare back their in-person plans, and the Ashland district says the school year will begin with all remote learning for grades 4-12.  Kindergarten through third grade are likely to have more latitude to open classrooms, because online instruction is much less workable for them and the Covid risk is seen as much less severe at that age.

    That question remains unsettled, as does the date for when older kids will return to schoolrooms.  The answers hinge, like just about everything else these days, on the future course of the virus. The pattern of infection spreads across different states with different Covid policies has strengthened the consensus of public health  professionals about the contributions the rest of us can make: masking and distancing when in public, staying away from crowds when possible, maintaining steady disinfection routines. 


In Portland streets

Since I wrote last week’s opinion piece on the paramilitary campaign to put down unrest, there’s been a twist in the Portland drama that nobody predicted. On Wednesday the Governor announced a negotiated deal with the Trump Administration: they will withdraw their forces from the city if the Oregon State Police will effectively protect the Mark O. Hatfield Federal Building and other smaller properties. 


Photo from Mark Graves/The Oregonian

One fascinating element you’ll notice in this well-done OPB report is the bold victory lap that both sides ran after the fact. You had to wonder if they were talking about the same agreement. Nik Blosser, the Governor’s Chief of Staff, was straightforward about the disconnect. “Because we have different audiences,” he said, “the audience on Fox News is different from the people in Portland. Everyone knew they had to declare victory. We’re going to talk about the same set of facts but we’re going to talk about them differently.”

With such different stories from the White House and the Governor’s office, will this settlement last? Early signs are promising: reports are that Portland streets were peaceful last night for the first time since the Federal troops entered the city. I firmly believe that Oregon State Police will be more effective peacekeepers than outside paramilitary troopers whose interest in minimizing violence was questionable at best. In the swirl of today’s intense political cross-currents and anger, we’re not likely to see uninterrupted tranquility in weeks and months to come. But there’s no question that the White House’s decision to use Portland as a showground for “domination of the streets” fanned the flames of violence. The occupation is over for now, and Oregon’s leadership deserves thanks for standing together and tenaciously against it.


It seems fitting to close this section with a final gift from the heroic and irreplaceable Rep. John Lewis. Yesterday the New York Times honored his request to publish a letter to all of us on the day of his funeral. Please read this.

John Lewis

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


Senator Jeff Golden, Oregon Senate District 3

Important Updates

Current COVID Information



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.

  • 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 
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