Wildfire Update, Lost Wage Assistance Program & More

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Representative Smith Warner


I hope that you’re all safe and secure in this scary time, and that you’re watching official communications closely for updates about wildfire spread, air quality and other important health and safety information. As we continue to navigate through these trying times it’s important that we stay safe, look out for one another and continue to uplift each other and those in need. We are all in this together, and together we will get through this. Here are some recent updates and  resources about wildfires and the COVID-19 pandemic.

                                                      Constituent Update
I will be hosting a Zoom town hall Wednesday September 23, 5:30-6:30 PM with Rep. Alissa Keny-Guyer and Sen. Michael Dembrow to provide updates about the wildfires, COVID-19, and important health and safety information. Time will be provided for Q&A. As always, please contact my office with any questions you might have, or if you need assistance registering. I hope you are able to join me in this informative discussion. Please register using this link: https://zoom.us/meeting/register/tJYuceioqD8qE9Ae7ZGok58IWlKN36s_JL8W

Multnomah County Update
The threat of wildfire is not increasing in Multnomah County and we are under no evacuation orders. You can sign up for public alerts to get the most up-to-date information. The air over Multnomah County remains "very unhealthy" and extremely poor air is expected in Multnomah County for most of the week. Here are some helpful steps you can take to protect yourself. 

Air Index

Protect your health when smoke levels are high

  • Avoid outdoor activities and stay inside if possible. Keep windows and doors closed.
  • 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. You can also create your own air purifying filter by following these easy DIY air filter instructions
  • Stay hydrated and drink lots of water.
  • Check with your local health department or this 211 list to see if they have community clean air shelters set up where people can get temporary relief from the smoke.
  • If you have heart or lung disease or asthma, follow your healthcare provider’s advice.
  • Consider leaving the area if smoke levels are hazardous and you have heart disease, asthma or other respiratory conditions. If you choose to leave the area, remember to take face coverings and hand sanitizer with you to help protect yourself and others from COVID-19.

Additional Wildfire Resources 

Lost Wage Assistance Program
The Oregon Employment Department launched the online self-certification for the Lost Wages Assistance (LWA) program. The temporary emergency program funded by FEMA provides an additional $300 per week to people who are out of work and receiving unemployment benefits due to COVID-19. To meet FEMA requirements for the program, claimants must certify that they are receiving unemployment benefits for COVID-19-related reasons. For step-by-step instructions on how to self certify, click here

As a reminder, you automatically qualify for LWA if you:

  • Have received unemployment benefits from July 26,2020 through September 5, 2020
  • Self-certify you are unemployed or partially unemployed due to disruptions caused by COVID-19
  • Receive regular UI, PEUC, or Extended Benefits, For claimants receiving PUA , there is no need to self-certify: you self-certified when you first applied for PUA benefits

COVID-19 Temporary Paid Leave Program
Working Oregonians at the frontlines of this pandemic should not have to worry about how they will pay their bills if they are forced to quarantine. I was proud to support the COVID-19 Temporary Paid Leave Program, and I am glad to report it is now taking applications for eligible workers. The application is available in English, Spanish, and Russian. If you have been exposed to COVID-19 and have to quarantine but do not have access to COVID-19-related paid sick leave, you might be eligible for up to $120 per day. You can apply online or call 833-685-0850 from 7:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.

COVID-19 Mortgage Assistance 
The Oregon Homeownership Stabilization Initiative recently opened a COVID-19 Mortgage Relief program to help Oregon homeowners who have fallen behind on their mortgage during the pandemic. If you have suffered financial hardship and have fallen behind on your mortgage OHSI may be able to help in the form of a five-year forgivable loan recorded as a lien/mortgage on your property. You can find out about program requirements or access the application through this link.

Free PPE for Small Businesses & Childcare Providers
Yesterday Governor Brown announced a new program to provide masks and gloves to small businesses and childcare providers in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. The Governor, in partnership with the Oregon Legislature’s Emergency Board, allocated $10 million from the federal CARES Act funding for the purchase of protective supplies. Businesses with fewer than 50 employees that are headquartered in Oregon with principal operations in Oregon are eligible. Businesses with fewer than 10 employees will receive a box of 200 gloves and 100 masks, with larger businesses receiving up to 500 masks and 800 gloves. For now, businesses are limited to one order, with additional orders possible at a later date depending on availability. The order form is online and is now accepting orders. Businesses and child care providers can access the form here.

Please stay safe everyone. Check to see what evacuation level your area is in, and get a bag together with overnight supplies, medicine, food and water in case you need to go at a moment’s notice. Please reach out to my office if you have any additional questions, or if there’s anything you think I could help with. 



Representative Barbara Smith Warner
House District 45

email: Rep.BarbaraSmithWarner@oregonlegislature.gov I phone: 503-986-1445
address: 900 Court St NE, H-295, Salem, OR 97301
website: http://www.oregonlegislature.gov/smithwarner