$500 Emergency Relief Check Program Available Now

Senator Wagner

Dear Friends and Neighbors,

I hope you have all been staying healthy and cool in the August heat. If you're taking advantage of the sunny weather to get outside into our beautiful parks and scenic outdoor areas, please make sure you're bringing your water, sunscreen, and mask with you! Although we seem to have left 100° days behind for the time being, now is still a good time to review this advice from the Oregon Health Authority on staying safe in extreme heat and knowing the difference between heat-related illnesses.

Please also note that we are in the midst of fire season, which makes fire prevention more important than ever. Take some time to read through these tips from the Department of Forestry on how to prevent wildfires and keep Oregon green. 

$500 Emergency COVID-19 Relief Check Program

Last month, the legislature's Emergency Board (E-Board) allocated $35 million in federal Coronavirus Relief Fund dollars to provide one-time $500 payments to Oregonians experiencing financial hardship due to COVID-19. Starting yesterday, August 19, eligible Oregonians can apply for these one-time payments. Eligibility criteria include:

  • Be a current resident of Oregon and 18 years or older.
  • Be able to prove their identity and that they are an in-state resident.
  • Attest that they are experiencing severe financial hardship directly or indirectly due to the Governor's Stay Home, Save Lives executive orders.
  • Have earned $4,000/month or less pre-tax prior to their income loss due to COVID-19.
  • Not have received all unemployment payments they are owed.

Oregonians who think they may qualify should visit the Emergency Checks website as soon as possible. The website includes eligibility information, applications and how to apply. You can also find the nearest participating credit union or bank's website. Up to 70,000 Oregonians may be able to receive these payments.

A Dose of Inspiration from District 19


If you are in need of some good news, the Lake Oswego Review’s feature on students in the district will brighten your day. Mya Gordon of Lakeridge High School is a great example of a young leader in our community. She has done excellent work as a member of the Lake Oswego School District’s Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee, and even created a documentary about the history of racism in Lake Oswego. For more stories of activism, innovation, sportsmanship and resiliency right in our backyard, watch for the Amazing Kids section of the Lake Oswego Review.

School Reopening & Sports Guidance

Last week, the Oregon Department of Education released updated guidance for Ready Schools, Safe Learners, including more detailed standards for comprehensive distance learning, and updated guidance to account for Oregon’s geographic and population diversity. Distance learning this fall will be very different from the spring, with more requirements for daily attendance, grading and more. Plans from each individual school district were due earlier this week. The full list of district plans is available here.

Additionally, the Oregon Health Authority has released new guidance on school sports. This document outlines a limited return to play that allows for training, conditioning, and competition for non-contact and minimal/medium contact sports, as well as training and conditioning for full contact and indoor sports. Please view the document for further information on cleaning and disinfection, distance and occupancy, training and playing, as well as travel protocols.


Click the image to visit the guidance document.

News from the U.S. Postal Service

By now, I’m sure many of you have heard about the discouraging news around USPS operations. Reports of staffing protocol changes and removal of sorting machines and mail boxes around the country--including in Oregon--have led to concerns about the small businesses, seniors, voters and other citizens who depend on mail service. According to a USPS spokesperson, the removal of mailboxes in Portland and Eugene is related to a decrease in mail volume in certain locations that have multiple side-by-side boxes. In response, Oregon Secretary of State Bev Clarno issued a statement reaffirming our close ties with local contacts in the USPS and reiterating the supports that are in place for Oregonians to ensure their votes are counted. 

Oregon Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum announced that the State will join a multi-state coalition in a federal lawsuit that challenges operational changes at the U.S. Postal Service that could threaten critical mail delivery and undermine the national election in November. As our state officials work to defend our right to vote by mail, the Attorney General has also shared the following reminder: "It is very important that Oregonians understand it is safe to vote by mail here if you give yourself plenty of time. Sign up online to track your ballot's progress, and use a drop box instead of the mail if you are cutting it close to Election Day!"

Access to mail services is a critical public good for seniors, veterans, small business owners and voters across the country. In the midst of a pandemic, this is even more true because the mail offers no-contact options for engaging with public services and exercising civil rights. I will continue to monitor the situation, and work with our Secretary of State’s Office and Congressional delegates to support vote-by-mail in Oregon and across the country.

Resources for Workers

New Bureau of Labor and Industries Website: Did you know that the Bureau of Labor and Industries (BOLI) can help workers who are struggling with mistreatment by their employers? Workers who encounter situations like being asked to work off the clock, paychecks not reflecting hours worked, discrimination, inadequate access to breaks and others can use BOLI’s new website to anonymously report these types of violations and access other resources. These are unprecedented times and many are feeling the extra pressure of working during an economic downturn, but workers still have a right to feel safe and respected in the workplace. If your employer is breaking the law by denying you these rights, please let BOLI know.

Pandemic Unemployment Assistance Help Available Online: If you've been unable to take advantage of the Oregon Employment Department's (OED) webinars on accessing Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) help, you can watch recordings of all of them to date in this playlist from the OED's YouTube page. You can also use the department's new Contact Us form to get help with missing payments, PIN resets, claim restarts, extended benefits like PEUC or EB, errors on your claim, reports of identity theft and questions about whether you should file or not. OED has informed legislators that the Contact Us form is now the best way for Oregonians to get help with these issues. That said, please continue to reach out to my office with complex or continuing issues and we will do our best to connect you with the resources you need.

More Resources

Mental Health and Domestic Violence Resources:

The state of the world can pose mental health challenges and it’s harder to reach out to our support systems. If you're struggling to cope in these stressful times, consider reaching out to one of these resources:

  • To reach the Disaster Distress Helpline, call 1-800-985-5990, or text TalkWithUs to 66746. 
  • If you or a loved one is in crisis, dial Call 800-273-TALK (8255) or go to this link.
  • Call the National Domestic Violence Hotline 1-800-799-7233 and TTY 1-800-787-3224.
    • You can also visit thehotline.org, but for your safety please be aware that computer use can be monitored and is impossible to completely clear.
  • If you are LGBTQ+ identifying and are in crisis, please contact the Trevor Lifeline.

Food Insecurity:

Mask Up - Picnic

As always, whether you're staying close to home or traveling in these last few weeks of summer, please make sure to follow the three W's: wear your mask, watch your distance and wash your hands.

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


RW Signature

Senate Majority Leader Rob Wagner
Senate District 19

email: Sen.RobWagner@OregonLegislature.gov I phone: 503-986-1719
address: 900 Court St NE, S-223, Salem, OR, 97301
website: http://www.oregonlegislature.gov/wagner