September 11th Updates: Wildfire and COVID-19

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Dear Friends and Neighbors, 

It feels like we are being tested on every front lately.  We are facing the dual threats of fires and COID-19, and each crisis complicates our response to the other.  It is understandable to feel overwhelmed and upset about our current situation, and I encourage everyone to reach out to their loved ones to seek and offer support.  In times of crisis, it is vital that we stay connected with each other.  I encourage everyone to reach out to their family, friends and neighbors who may be feeling isolated and worried about evacuation and air quality.  Continue to monitor evacuation orders, and make sure you, your loved ones and your neighbors have a plan for evacuation.  We are in this together, and we will get through this together.  

  • SAMHSA’s Disaster Distress Helpline provides 24/7, 365-day-a-year crisis counseling and support to people experiencing emotional distress related to natural or human-caused disasters. Call SAMHSA’s Disaster Distress Helpline at 1-800-985-5990 or text TalkWithUs to 66746 to speak to a trained crisis counselor.
  • If you are experiencing a crisis, in an emergency, call 911. Help is also available from Lines for Life, a suicide prevention organization with specific resources for youth, military personnel and their families, and those affected by substance abuse problems. Visit or call one of their helplines:
    • Suicide Lifeline: 1-800-273-8255, 1-888-628-9454 for Spanish
    • Alcohol and Drug Helpline: 1-800-923-4357
    • Military Helpline: 1-888-457-4838
    • Youthline: 1-877-968-8491 or text teen2teen to 839863
  • OHA also has contacts for crisis services by county on its website.
Evacuation Levels

Wildfire Updates:

Close to a million acres of land are burning in Oregon, and over 500,000 people live in an evacuation zone.  Every corner of Oregon is experiencing smoke impacts from western fires.  Please, continue to monitor the situation in your area, be mindful of what zone you are in and follow the directions of emergency responders.  Sign up for emergency updates from Washington County here.  

The good news is that the hot and dry easten winds that were growing and spreading these fires have ended, and we are starting to experience colder and wetter winds from the coast.  This weather change is giving our firefighters and first responders the opportunity to reset some of the fire lines, and transition into a more offensive approach to these fires.  

The Governor’s office has put together a Wildfire Resources page that you can access from the Governor’s home page and will continue to update this as more resources become available.

Governor Kate Brown held a press conference today at 1:00pm to provide updates on the fires and evacuations happening throughout the state. You can watch the press conference via YouTube and can be accessed here:  

FEMA Funds: Gov. Brown's request for a federal disaster declaration was approved late last night by FEMA. The declaration will result in federal financial assistance for disaster response, recovery, and mitigation against future disasters.  You can read the full letter here.  The assistance is for the counties of Clackamas, Douglas, Jackson, Jefferson, Klamath, Lane, Lincoln, Linn, Marion, Tillamook, and Washington. Additional designations may be made at a later date.

Price Gouging: The Governor has also declared an “abnormal market disruption” due to the wildfires.  This is an added protection for Oregonians against price gouging, particularly related to lodging rates and consumer goods.  Oregonians who believe they have been subjected to excessive prices for essential consumer goods and services due to this disruption can report these instances to the Oregon Department of Justice through their Consumer Protection hotline at 877-877-9392. Oregonians can also visit for more information. The Oregon Department of Justice has the authority to investigate unlawful trade practices.

Employment and Wildfires: 

A few different Employment offices have had to shut down because of wildfires and smoke impacts.  This could cause some delays in processing of claims.  You can view updates about the impacts of fires on the OED website: 

If you have lost a reliacard, need to change your address, or have other wildfire/evacuation related needs from OED, you can use the contact us form to get immediate attention. 

Transportation and Fires: 

Trimet: Those who must ride transit at this time should check TransitTracker and before they head out. Please also consult the Oregon Health Authority for advice on staying healthy while traveling.

I-5 Bridge Work Postponed: Due to the current fire situation, and the need to keep roadways open for evacuees, ODOT and WSDOT have decided to postpone trunnion replacement on the I-5 bridge.  You can read the full announcement here.  

Road Closures: If you need to travel, be sure to use TripCheck for up to date information on closures.  

How to Help: 

There are a few ways you can help those most affected by fires.  The first is to be smart and conscious of your own use of resources, and following directions from emergency responders: 

  • Do not call 911 unless it is a true emergency, do not use 911 to report smoke
  • Sign up for emergency notifications from your county
  • If you’re in or close to an evacuation zone, be prepared. Fires are unpredictable and shifts in weather and wind can change risks suddenly.  If you are in Zone 1, have a plan for where to go and what to bring, if you are in Zone 2, be packed and ready to leave at a moment’s notice.  
  • Stay close to home if you can. Stay far away from the evacuation areas. 
  • The Red Cross will be coordinating reunifications, so it’s important that evacuees register with their “Safe and Well Registry.” If you are looking for a loved one, check with the Red Cross before the police.  

Donate: Another way to help is to donate to emergency response organizations.  Firefighters have the support and resources they need right now, and fire camps cannot accept donations of any kind. But a lot of Oregonians could use your help! Here's a guide by region where you can donate:

Wildfire Map

Map of wildfires: We have 35 active fires burning across Oregon, totalling 854,000 acres (as of 1:30pm). Some of these fires will be active until we start seeing significant winter rain, others should be under control sooner. Click this image for an interactive map of fires and hotspots.

Air Quality Index

Air Quality Index: Westen Washington County is currently experiencing very unhealthy air because of the smoke. This means everyone, but especially those with underlying breathing conditions should limit all of their outside time as much as possible, avoid exercise or strenuous activities outside, and should where an N-95 mask if they have to be outside. You can check on Air quality by city or zip code by clicking this image, or use the map below.

Air Quality Map

COVID-19 Updates:


  • The Employment Department is launching the Lost Wages Assistance Program today. The Lost Wages Assistance (LWA) program is a temporary emergency measure that gives an additional $300 per week to people who are out of work due to the COVID-19 pandemic and receiving unemployment benefits. The LWA was authorized through an August 8, 2020 Presidential Memorandum.  Find more information here, or by typing “LWA” into the search bar on the OED Website.  
  • You can register for the OED webinar occurring next week on extended benefits here
  • Director David Gerstenfeld’s media briefing from this past Wednesday:

Case Data

  • National Numbers: 
    • Confirmed Cases: 6,381,013 (+37,451 cases since yesterday)
    • Deaths: 191,353 (+1,091 since yesterday)
    • Cases in the last 7 days: 248,939
    • 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 28,865 total cases (confirmed and presumptive) of COVID-19. 
    • Today we have 215 new confirmed and presumptive cases, and 2 new deaths. 
    • Thursday: 187 cases, 3 deaths
    • A total of 499 Oregonians have died from COVID-19.  
  • Washington County still has one of the highest case counts at 4046 confirmed cases, including 17 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. 
  • During Monday, August 31, through Sunday, September 6, OHA recorded 1,477 new cases of COVID-19 infection—down another 5% from last week’s tally of 1,558. This marks the 5th consecutive week of declining case counts. The percentage of tests that were positive fell from 4.4% to 4.3%. Twenty-three Oregonians were reported to have died, compared to 39 last week. 
Daily Update 9/11

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

Epi Curve

Graph showing cases by symtpom onset date and broken down by type of spread. Click on the image for more information from the OHA weekly report.

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.  

Smoke Images

Smoke in Washington County

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