COVID-19 Updates 8/21/2020

Rep. Sollman

Friends and Neighbors,

Unemployment Insurance Updates

$500 Available to Oregonians Waiting for Unemployment Insurance

If you are or someone you know are still waiting for Unemployment benefits, take note of this opportunity for a one-time payment of $500. You can find more information by calling 2-1-1 or at this website:

Funds are limited and available on a first come first serve basis, so if you think you are eligible, don't delay. Due to the crowds that we have seen at the credit unions, it is best to call ahead to schedule an appointment, when this is an option. These dollars were brought forward from legislative action through our Emergency Board. Legislators heard loud and clear that Oregonians needed help from delays in processing claims from the Employment Department and we needed to do what we could do to quickly get resources in their hands.

I am so sorry to hear that the lines have been so long and that a situation we thought would bring relief is adding another layer of frustration to this already stressful time. It is not the most ideal situation, but nothing that has come from COVID-19 has been ideal. The need is so great, so please plan accordingly for the wait time.

Eligibility Requirements: 

  • 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 due to the Governor’s executive orders.
  • Have earned $4,000/month or less pre-tax prior to their income loss due to COVID-19.
  • NOT be current on their unemployment payments.

List of Participating Branches

Know Before You Go:

  • An applicant can only receive one payment if found eligible. Each financial institution will check a database prior to payment to ensure that multiple benefits aren’t paid to any individuals.
  • Each institution – bank or credit union – will manage transactions according to their capacity. Some may take walk-in applications and others may accept applications online and schedule in-person appointments when received. Many branches are doing both. Applicants should:
    • (1) find the branch nearest them;
    • (2) call ahead or check the branch’s website – sites are linked on the main page – to understand how they are accepting applications;
    • (3) complete your application;
    • (4) ensure proof of ID and/or proof of residency meet the list of acceptable documents and
    • (5) follow the preparation steps listed below to ensure a smooth transaction.
  • This program prioritizes same-day in-person payment when an applicant is found to be eligible to ensure Oregonians are not waiting by the mailbox for a check that might not arrive. In order to accomplish this safely, applicants must adhere to public health guidelines. Each participating location will have signage or other visible requirements for entering their branch.
  • If you are seeking assistance from the $500 Emergency Relief Check Program, please note that this service will be available at participating banks and credit unions from Monday-Friday.
  • Appointments and walk-ins will not be taken on Saturday or Sunday.
  • We need to have similar access points every day in every part of the state. This is not possible on the weekends, as some participating financial institutions will not be open on Saturday and Sunday.

PUA Claims Can Now Be Filed in Spanish

The Oregon Employment Department has taken one more step toward ensuring every unemployed Oregonian can get their benefits as quickly as possible. Ensuring equal access to our programs is part of living our agency values of respect, integrity, and community, which is why I am excited to announce that Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) claims can now be filed in Spanish, online.

As with the English-language PUA form, the three major improvements to the Spanish-language PUA system are:

  • Speeding up weekly benefit processing. PUA claimants are required to submit a weekly certification to get benefits. Automating the weekly certification process will help get them processed faster and more accurately. The previous highly manual process was time- and resource-intensive and meant weeks of delays. 
  • Improved submission success. The fully automated form will ensure applications are submitted with complete information, which will speed up claims processing. The temporary PDF solution meant that some forms were inadvertently being submitted blank. 
  • Ensuring all required information is complete prior to submission. The form will give a warning notifying customers that the information is required. This change will help us process claims faster and reduce delays in Oregonians receiving benefits due to missing information. Important information, such as the COVID-19 reason that makes an applicant eligible for PUA, is required, but has often been missing or left blank on the PDF forms.

To apply for or receive benefits through the new Spanish-language system, claimants should visit: and select “Español” from the top right drop-down menu. 

Claimants can resubmit their weekly claims through the new form if they have not already been paid for those weeks, though they do not have to. Claimants should not resubmit an initial claim if they have been notified that the claim was received. Resubmitting unpaid claims online will speed up how quickly claimants will get their benefits, and will let claims specialists focus on processing claims for those who have not yet received benefits.

Los reclamos de Asistencia de Desempleo por la Pandemia (PUA) ahora se pueden presentar en español, en línea.

“Asegurar el acceso equitativo a nuestros programas es parte de vivir los valores de nuestra agencia de respeto, integridad y comunidad”, dijo David Gerstenfeld, director interino del Departamento de Empleo de Oregon. “Aliento a nuestros solicitantes de PUA de habla hispana a utilizar este nuevo proceso en línea para que podamos obtener sus beneficios lo más rápido posible.”

Al igual que con el formulario PUA en inglés, las tres principales mejoras son:

  • Acelerar el procesamiento de beneficios semanales. Los solicitantes del PUA deben presentar una certificación semanal para obtener beneficios. Automatizar el proceso de certificación semanal ayudará a que se procesen con mayor rapidez y precisión. El proceso anterior, sumamente manual, requería mucho tiempo y recursos e implicaba semanas de retrasos. 
  •  Mejoró el éxito de los envíos. El formulario totalmente automatizado garantizará que las solicitudes se envíen con información completa, lo que acelerará el trámite de reclamos. La solución temporal de PDF significó que algunos formularios se enviaran inadvertidamente en blanco. 
  • Se asegura de que toda la información requerida esté completa antes de enviarla. El formulario dará una advertencia notificando a los clientes que la información es necesaria. Este cambio nos ayudará a procesar los reclamos más rápido y reducirá las demoras en que los residentes de Oregon reciban beneficios debido a la falta de información. Se requiere información importante, como el motivo COVID-19 que hace que un solicitante sea elegible para el PUA, pero a menudo falta o se deja en blanco en los formularios PDF.

Para solicitar o recibir beneficios a través del nuevo sistema en español, los reclamantes deben visitar y seleccionar "Español" en el menú desplegable superior derecho. 

Los reclamantes pueden volver a enviar sus reclamos semanales a través del nuevo formulario si aún no se les ha pagado por esas semanas, aunque no es necesario. Los reclamantes no deben volver a presentar un reclamo inicial si se les ha notificado que el reclamo fue recibido. Reenviar reclamos no pagados en línea aumentará la rapidez con que los reclamantes obtendrán sus beneficios y permitirá que los especialistas en reclamos se concentren en tramitar reclamos para aquellos que aún no han recibido beneficios.

Para recibir más orientación sobre el uso del formulario en español, los solicitantes del PUA de habla hispana deben registrarse para el próximo seminario web del Departamento de Empleo de Oregon, programado para el 20 de agosto a la 1 p.m. Este seminario web, que se llevará a cabo en español, guiará a los habitantes de Oregón sobre cómo usar el formulario del PUA y responderá a sus preguntas. Regístrese en

COVID-19 Health Equity Grants

The Oregon Health Authority (OHA) has opened grant applications to not-for-profit organizations statewide and Oregon’s nine federally recognized Tribes and the Urban Indian Health Program for grants flowing from legislatively-directed $45 million in federal CARES Act coronavirus relief funds.

The grants are intended to address the disproportionate impact the COVID-19 pandemic has had on Oregon’s tribal communities and communities of color. This innovative program leverages federal funds to address social determinants of health and the systemic racism and other health and economic inequities tribal communities and communities of color experience, which have been compounded by COVID-19.

The program will provide grants to not for-profit-organizations and tribal communities. These grants can be used to help people address:

  • Health and economic disruptions. Examples of this could include: Providing thermometers, personal protective items, wage relief, childcare support, business consulting, and technology needs, to improve access to telehealth and distance learning.
  • Food insecurity and housing. Examples of this could include: Providing food, shelter, transportation, home heating and cooling costs, and outdoor gear for situations of homelessness.
  • Safety and violence prevention Examples could include: Providing emergency motel vouchers for people experiencing child abuse or domestic violence, culturally and linguistically appropriate services that address domestic violence, and social life skills programs for parents to address stress, depression and the need to take care of their own well-being.

Interested Tribes and organizations are invited to learn more about the grant program via two information sessions, taking place today, Friday, Aug. 21 from 11:00 am-12:00 pm or Monday, Aug. 24 from 2:00 pm-3:00 pm. More information and an application are available here.

Election Safety in Oregon

Your Voice Your Vote

As the rest of the country discusses the safety and security of voting by mail, Oregonians can continue to have confidence in our trusted system. Oregonians first approved Vote by Mail (VBM) for testing in 1981 and it was made permanent for local/special elections in 1987. After incremental progress, by the 2000 election cycle VBM was used successfully in the general and primary elections, including those for President.

Elections are run by the office of the Oregon Secretary of State: Bev Clarno (R). Recently she said: “Fortunately, Oregon has two decades of experience working with our local contacts at the United States Postal Service and has an excellent partnership with them to ensure ongoing support for our elections. We will of course continue to work with them and monitor any potential impact to both the mailing out of ballots to voters and the return of ballots. The USPS recognizes that Oregon leads the nation with Vote by Mail and that we are using the latest USPS technology to streamline the process.”

The Secretary of State’s office maintains the “MyVoteNow” site in six languages to help voters:

  • Check if you are registered to vote
  • View your voter registration information
  • Update your voter registration
  • Check the status of your ballot
  • Find contact information for your county elections office
  • Find contact information for your elected officials
  • Find a ballot drop site

For general questions you can contact the Elections Division in Washington County:

  • Washington County Elections. 2925 NE Aloclek Drive, Ste 170, Hillsboro, OR 97124-7523
  • (503) 846-580

Or the Elections Division of the Oregon Secretary of State’s Office:

  • Public Service Building Suite 501, 255 Capitol St. NE, Salem OR 97310 
  • 503-986-1518 
  • Toll free 1-866-673-VOTE (1-866-673-8683) TTY 800-735-2900 
  • Email:​

Don’t forget to check “MyVoteNow” on the Secretary of State’s website, to check that your ballot has been received and counted. #EveryVoteCounts

Education Updates

Back to School Plans

Local school districts have updated their websites with information on how the 2020-2021 school year will look. Follow the links below for more information.

Hillsboro School District

Beaverton School District

Banks School District

Disability Rights Oregon: Tips for Preparing for the New School Year


Thank you to Disability Rights Oregon (DRO) for sharing the following information on helping children of all abilities prepare for the new school year.

Making up for lost education during COVID-19:

With news breaking daily of school buildings remaining physically closed until mid-November, most parents are taking a deep breath and forcing themselves to imagine how they will manage at least two more months of distance learning. Many of you already know that online and other forms of distance learning have not worked for your child.  Zoom meetings and homework packets have not been replacement for the level of attention and support that many children need to learn. This has been especially true for children with intellectual and developmental disabilities who need intensive behavioral instruction and supports.  

Know your child's rights:

Three months ago, we shared some practical tips for parents of children who have been unable to learn important academic and social skills while isolated at home. Our newest material builds on those tips to help you during the next uncertain period of continued distance learning. With distance learning extended into the fall in many districts, we have created a new Know Your Rights guide to help you prepare for the 2020-21 school year and advocate for your child's rights: Know Your Rights: Making up for Lost Education during COVID-19 Here's a snapshot of what you'll find. 

  • Give yourself a break, then document everything.  
  • Review your log and consider what, if anything, has worked for your child since March.
  • What to do in August and September and things to watch for.  
    • Request an IEP Meeting a week or two after your child’s school opens or announces its plan for what will happen in September.  
    • At the meeting, bring your log and share what you have learned about what worked and what did not during the time between March and the meeting.

Additional resources:

We know that being out of a classroom has been difficult for most children and especially difficult for children with disabilities. We also know that more months of distance learning is not news that any of us wanted to hear, but we hope that our new guide will help you through what may be a tough time.

Transportation Hub

This week, Mark and I had the opportunity to visit the new 49,000 square feet Transportation and Maintenance Satellite site for the Hillsboro School District. It is located behind Liberty High School. It is a wonderful opportunity to better serve the north side of the district, to provide diesel mechanics CTE classes (I asked about future EV mechanics too) for students and increase transportation efficiencies utilizing technology. You can follow along on all HSD Bond projects here:

Recycling Updates

Updates from Scrap Creative Reuse on your favorite local recycling and reuse options:

  • SCRAP PDX now has "Walk up shopping" opportunities available Tues - Sat, 10 a.m. - 4 p.m. as well as online shopping and donations by appointment.
  • Community Warehouse is temporarily pausing donation collection because their warehouses are full! They are now focusing on their mission to connect community members in need with furnishings.
  • Free Geek is still accepting donations via the Public Drop off in their parking lot (limited hours) and their online store is open for shopping with orders available for pick-up (by schedule only). Here are their hours and services as of July 31.
  • The Beaverton, Portland, Vancouver and Gresham ReStore locations are all open with limited schedules as is the Forest Grove ReStore. Open locations are observing physical distancing protocols. Hours may vary.
  • Pride Recycling Depot and Far West Recycling are open to the public. They are taking the same materials as before and operating on their normal schedule. Policies for physical distancing and hygiene are in place. Please review procedures before visiting.
  • Bottle Drop Redemption Centers in counties under Phase 1 are open and most are operating on their normal schedule. Face masks and physical distancing are required.
  • Many Goodwill Stores are now open to the public with curbside donation boxes and physical distancing protocols. Some Goodwill Donation Centers and Express locations are still closed. Locations and hours may vary so verify through their Goodwill website.

Recycling Tips

Here's a quick guide from Washington County to what goes in the garbage and what can go in the recycling when it comes to PPE and cleaning supplies:



  • Face masks & face shields
  • Paper towels & tissues
  • Plastic gloves
  • All wipes (even those labelled flushable or biodegradable) and wipe container bags & boxes

Please make sure all garbage is securely bagged!


  • Cardboard boxes from tissues, soap and gloves
  • Cardboard tubes from paper towels and toilet paper rolls
  • Plastic bottles from cleaning supplies and hand sanitizer (empty, rinsed)
  • Cylinder shaped wipe containers (see picture)

Remember, you can use our What to Recycle and Where tool, available online or through our Garbage and Recycling Day app, to find out how to recycle, donate or dispose of thousands of items.

Community Outreach

Volunteers Pack Duffel Bags for Oregon’s Foster Kids

"Dozens of volunteers in North Plains helped put together special bags on Saturday for children in foster care. It was part of “Project Never Again,” an Oregon-based non-profit dedicated to serving children in the foster care system with dignity and compassion.

The duffel bags go to kids who have to move multiple times within the foster care system. The founder of the project based the program on her own experiences as a child in the system.

The packed bags will go out to kids in every county in Oregon. Over the last three years, the project has packed and handed out roughly 4,100 bags."

Read the full article on here.

Additional Resources

 House District 30 Links

Federal Delegation Links

Education Links

Utilities Assistance

Food and Housing Assistance


It is fun to see the creative, colorful work stations that parents are putting in place for their kids to stay engaged and focused on their school work when school starts in September. Earlier this month, at my Community Conversation on Mental Health, Elizabeth Nahl, an Elementary Child Development Specialist, said that consistency was THE biggest tool you can provide for your student to help them succeed. Send us a picture of your student’s designated area for learning. I think it can help other parents get ideas and feel supported during this stressful time. Send your pics to:

Be good to yourself and each other. ❤

Onward & Upward,


Capitol Phone: 503-986-1430
Capitol Address: 900 Court St. NE, H-487, Salem, Oregon 97301