September 9th, 2020: Wildfires and COVID-19 updates

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Dear Friends and Neighbors, 

I write to you with a very heavy heart.  Our beautiful state is burning and homes, cities, structures and natural treasures are being destroyed. We expect that this could be the most devastating fire incidences in our history, and while we do not yet know the scope of the damage, there will likely be many lives lost.  From lightning last month, to the strong winds since Labor Day, the weather has been creating unprecedented fire conditions and spreading fires at a rapid pace.  Our fire crews are working around the clock to save lives, and evacuate those in the path of these fires.  The fire risk across the state is still extremely high, and our resources are spread thin, but every Oregonian can take concrete steps to reduce their risk and keep our whole state safe.  

  • Monitor the fire risk in your area, and understand the evacuation system
    • Level 1-Be Ready: ready to evacuate, pack valuables and necessities, have an evacuation plan, monitor the situation
    • Level 2-Be Set: pack your car, be prepared to leave at a moments notice
    • Level 3-Go: Leave Immediately, do not delay, even if you aren’t packed
  • Stay inside, off the roads and out of the way of crews and evacuators
  • Do not use grills, fire pits, fireworks or anything that could create stray sparks
  • If you are able to make donations please visit the Red Cross Cascades website and give what you can. 
Ready Set Go

Wildfire Resources

The Governor’s office has put together a Wildfire Resources page that you can access from the Governor’s home page.  It has links to many of the most important updates about the status of fires and resources for evacuees.  This website will be updated regularly.  Governor Brown also held a press conference today to give updates on the state of evacuations and fire suppression.  You can watch that here.  

Check List for Evacuation

A sample checklist you can use to prepare for evacuations (Thank you to Rep Anna Williams for sharing)

Fire Effects on Schools: 

Some local school districts have had to postpone the first day of school, including districts in Marion and Clackamas county.  Due to the many power outages in the Metro area, PPS has decided that absences on Tuesday will not be counted.  You can read more about effects on schools in this OPB article.  

Keep Safe in Fire SEason


Congresswoman Bonamici compiled this helpful resource list: 

Sign Up for Emergency Updates:

  • For Washington and Multnomah County residents, sign up here
  • Yamhill County residents can sign up here.
  • Clatsop County residents can sign up here.
  • Columbia County residents can sign up here.

Road Closures: 

  • Many roads may be closed because of the fires. If possible, remain close to home. If you must travel, be cautious, and please check the Oregon Department of Transportation TripCheck for the latest conditions – which can change rapidly – before you go.

Smoke and Air Quality: 

Power Outages: 

Local Smoke Photos (1)

Photos of the impacts of smoke and fire in our community

Health Tips: 

  • Stay inside if possible. Keep windows and doors closed. 
  • Avoid strenuous outdoor activity. 
  • Be aware of smoke in your area and avoid places with the highest levels. 
  • Use high efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filters. These can be portable filters or can be installed in indoor heating, ventilation, cooling and air purification systems. 
  • If you have heart or lung disease or asthma, follow your health care provider’s advice. 
  • If you evacuate your home, remember to take face coverings and hand sanitizer with you to help protect yourself and others from COVID-19. 
  • Masks: While it remains important to wear masks to help prevent the spread of COVID-19, please remember that cloth, dust and surgical masks don’t protect from the harmful particles in smoke.  Only N95 respirators may provide protection from smoke. However: 
    • They must be tested to ensure proper fit and be worn correctly. Otherwise, they might just provide a false sense of security.  
    • They are not available in children’s sizes and are not recommended for strenuous activities.  
    • They are also in limited supply due to COVID-19.  
    • To learn more about wildfire smoke and COVID-19, visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website
Health and Smoke Tips

COVID-19 Related Updates

New case numbers continue to slowly decline, which is excellent news.  We are still a ways off from our school reopening goals, but if we keep up the pressure, and continue to be safe and responsible then we are on the right track!

New Developments: 

  • Updated Pool and Sport Court Guidance for Phase 1 and 2 counties is available here.  
  • COVID-19 effects on small business may last longer than we think: read more from the Oregonian
  • Our weekly testing report shows that our positivity rate continues to decline, last week’s positivity rate was 4.3%.  You can check out the full testing report here
Weekly Summary 9/9

Case Data

  • National Numbers: 
    • Confirmed Cases: 6,310,663
    • Deaths: 189,147
    • Cases in the last seven days: 262,971
    • These national numbers come from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.  You can view their national and state by state data here
  • Oregon Status Report:  Oregon now has 28,471 total cases (confirmed and presumptive) of COVID-19.  
    • Today we have 125 new confirmed and presumptive cases, and 8 new deaths. 
    • Tuesday: 169 cases, 4 deaths
    • Monday: 154 cases, 1 deaths
    • Sunday: 190 cases, 1 deaths
    • Saturday: 261 cases, 5 deaths
    • A total of 494 Oregonians have died from COVID-19.  
  • Washington County still has one of the highest case counts at 4002 confirmed cases, including 11 new cases today.  You can review on-going updates from OHA by clicking on the table below. 
  • The Oregon Health Authority recently provided a Public Health Indicators Dashboard to enable communities across Oregon to monitor COVID-19 in the state.The dashboard, which will be updated weekly on Thursdays, provides a transparent report that presents complex epidemiological data in an interactive, easy-to-understand way on a state and county level. 
Daily Update 9/9

Table showing Oregon case, testing and demographic data, link to more information

Additional Resources

Employers and Employees

Education Links

Local Government

Utilities Assistance

Food and Housing Assistance



Oregon Health Authority


View Past Updates, Share and Subscribe: 

If there was COVID-related information in a past newsletter that you want to go back to, but find you’ve deleted it, you can always go to my legislative website (, click on “News and Information,” and you’ll find them all there. You can also share this site with your friends and loved ones, so they can view past newsletters, and subscribe to future updates.  

Local Smoke Photos (2)

More local fire and smoke in our area from yesterday and today

Yours truly,

Representative Susan McLain

Representative Susan McLain
House District 29

email: I phone: 503-986-1429
address: 900 Court St NE, H-376, Salem, OR 97301