September 18th Update: Wildfire and COVID-19 Resources

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Dear Friends and Neighbors, 

This year has been heartbreaking on so many levels, and with each new tragedy and crisis, it gets harder and harder to stay optimistic.  To all those struggling to maintain hope and positivity, you are not alone and resources are available to help. Now more than ever it is important to reach out when you need help and support, to do your best to support your loved ones, and also to know the limits of your own emotional bandwidth.  There is good news to report today, the weather is shifting in our favor, and much needed moisture has reached several of our active fires.  We need to still be mindful of the potential impacts of wind, lightning, dry fire conditions in many parts of the state, and landslides, but our fire response leaders are much more optimistic now.  On the COVID-19 front, this week's Weekly Report from OHA shows new cases of COVID-19 declined in the last week, as did the state's positivity rate––however the number of Oregonians tested also declined due to disruptions and delays caused by active wildfires. 

Active Fire Map 9.18Fire Impact Report

Wildfire Updates

Washington County: 

Chehalem Mountains/Bald Peak Fire: 

  • Location: SW Weaver Drive near Jaquith Road. Mostly in Washington County with expansion into Yamhill County.
  • Fire status: The fire is 100% contained and impacted 875 acres. The cause of the fire was accidental (improperly extinguished campfire). TVF&R will mail information packets to the affected community. Sheriff’s deputies continue routine patrols in the area.
  • Lead Agency: Tualatin Valley Fire & Rescue (TVF&R)
  • Evacuations: Level 2 evacuation zones remain in place since conditions can change quickly. 
  • A map is available here: 

Powerline Fire:

  • Location: South of Hagg Lake near Dundee Road
  • Fire status: The fire is 100% contained and impacted 126 acres. Scoggins Valley Park and Henry Hagg Lake will remain closed until further notice. Sheriff’s deputies continue routine patrols in the area. Lead Agency: Gaston Rural Fire District
  • Evacuations: All evacuation levels have been lifted.

All county buildings have reopened after extended closures due to smoke.  

Ongoing updates on Washington County can be found here: 


  • Apply for FEMA Assistance
    • Registration is open for those affected by wildfires in Clackamas, Douglas, Jackson, Klamath, Lane, Lincoln, Linn, and Marion counties. Register by visiting, calling 800-621-3362 or using the FEMA app.
  • Stay Informed
    • Stay informed by calling 211 or visiting This Oregon Wildfire Resource website includes the latest information and resources available to those affected by wildfires.
  • Be Safe and Well
    • If you are in an evacuation zone, heed warnings, and follow local official recommendations without delay. If you are in a safe place, you can help by staying home and off the road.
    • The Oregon Behavioral Health Support Line is a free and confidential resource for all Oregonians who are looking for emotional support. Call 1-800-923-HELP (4357). You do not need to be in a mental health crisis to call this line. If you need or want help beyond what the line can provide, you will be connected to those services. This can include community-based services such as housing, food assistance or clinical services. Certified interpreters are also available for those who speak a language other than English. Through this number, you can also connect with Lines for Life (, a suicide prevention organization with specific resources for youth, military personnel and their families, and those affected by substance abuse problems.
    • 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.
  • Air quality index: The weather has turned in our favor, and the air definitely smells and seems better.  But even when it's not as noticeable, the air quality can still be dangerous for sensitive groups, and dangerous for all of us in large quantities.  Keep checking the air quality in your area and plan your time outside accordingly! 
Smoke Facts
  • Home Share: An estimated 40,000 Oregonians have been displaced by the fires to date. At the same time, there are more than a million spare bedrooms in Oregon’s owner-occupied homes—enough to house every fire-impacted Oregon family. Home Share Oregon, a program from the nonprofit organization Oregon Harbor of Hope, is here to help match homeowners who have space to share with renters who need an affordable place to live—including those displaced by the fires.  If you or a loved one has space to share, or needs a place to stay, visit to learn more and register to create your free home sharing profile on Silvernest.  
  • Health Care Enrollment: 
    • Oregonians affected by the wildfires can use the federal emergency declaration by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to take advantage of an exceptional circumstances special enrollment period (SEP). FEMA declared the Oregon wildfires a federal emergency on Sept. 15, 2020.
    •  Oregonians will have up to 60 days from the end of the FEMA-designated incident period to select a new health insurance plan through or make changes to their existing health insurance plan. People who experienced a life change are eligible for a standard special enrollment period that allows them to sign up for a plan 60 days before or 60 days after their life change to enroll in a plan. Examples of a life change include loss of coverage due to loss of employment, marriage, addition of a new family member, gaining lawful immigration status, and moving homes. Oregonians who were eligible for a standard special enrollment period, but missed this window due to the Oregon wildfires, can use the FEMA SEP to enroll in a plan. Applications are being accepted at if the life change is a loss in coverage and at 800-318-2596 (toll-free) for all other life changes.
    • The FEMA SEP due to the Oregon wildfires is available for people who qualified for a special enrollment period from Sept. 8 through up to 60 days after the FEMA emergency has ended. The declaration of emergency for the Oregon wildfires was issued Sept. 15, 2020, and is still active. Oregonians still have at the very earliest until Nov. 15, 2020 to use the FEMA SEP
    • For more information visit SHIBA.Oregon.Gov

How to help during the wildfires

Life is stressful for people in Oregon right now with COVID-19. We’ve adapted our lives to cope with the disease, and now we are faced with wildfires and dangerous smoke as well.

Helping is not only a great way to contribute to the community, but it also helps us feel like we can make a difference. People in Oregon are stepping up. Folks are adding displaced chickens to their urban chicken coops, passing on extra filters and fans to make air purifiers and donating food and clothes to evacuation shelters.

If you are considering monetary donations, a guide to safe giving is available at this link.

Here are some other ways you can help:

How to Help

COVID-19 Updates

Case Data

  • National Numbers: 
    • Confirmed Cases: 6,656,799 (up 43,468 from yesterday)
    • Deaths: 197,116 (up 832 from yesterday)
    • Cases in the last 7 days: 276,151
    • 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 30,342 total cases (confirmed and presumptive) of COVID-19.  
    • Today we have 295 new confirmed and presumptive cases, and 0 new deaths. 
    • Thursday: 215 cases, 0 deaths
    • Wednesday: 195 cases, 2 deaths
    • A total of 521 Oregonians have died from COVID-19.  
  • Washington County still has one of the highest case counts at 4241 confirmed cases, including 36 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 9.18

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

COVID-19 Temporary Paid Leave Program:

The COVID-19 Temporary Paid Leave Program is now live and accepting applications. This program, which was authorized by the Emergency Board and funded with $30 million in federal dollars, is designed to help employees who need to quarantine or isolate due to COVID-19 exposure, but do not have access to COVID-19-related paid sick leave.  People who qualify will receive a $120 per-day payment for up to 10 working days ($1,200 total) for the time they are required to quarantine.

People can now apply online at The application is available in English, Spanish, and Russian. Those who do not have access to the electronic application or how need help applying can call 833-685-0850 (toll-free) or 503-947-0130. People who need help in a language other than the three above can call 503-947-0130. The call center is open from 7:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.

The program website also has FAQs and an eligibility quiz where employees can check eligibility for the program before applying. To qualify for the program, an individual must meet all of the following requirements:

  • Work in Oregon and required to file an Oregon personal income tax return.
  • Directed to quarantine by a local or tribal public health authority or health care provider because of exposure to someone infected or self-isolating because they have COVID-19-related symptoms and are seeking a medical diagnosis.
  • Not able to work (including telework) because they need to quarantine or isolate.
  • Do not expect to earn more than $60,000 individually or $120,000 jointly in 2020.
  • Their employer does not provide COVID-19-related paid sick leave or they have exhausted their available COVID-19-related paid sick leave.
  • Are not applying for or receiving unemployment insurance benefits for the time off due to quarantine or isolation.
  • Are not applying for or receiving workers’ compensation claim benefits due to quarantine or isolation.
  • Are not seeking or using benefits from similar COVID-19 quarantine relief programs in Oregon or another state.
  • Are not applying for or receiving other forms of paid leave from their employer during their quarantine or isolation, such as banked sick leave or vacation leave.
  • Are not laid off or furloughed by their employer.
  • Must have notified their employer that they need to quarantine or isolate.
  • Can claim only one quarantine period.

Because the available funds are limited, the program is available only to quarantine periods that were in place on or after the effective date of the program. 

Leave Program

Free PPE for Small Businesses & Childcare Providers

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.


The Information below was all provided to legislators this week from the Oregon Employment Department

  • Director David Gerstenfeld’s media briefing for Wednesday September 16, 2020
  • Extended benefits webinar: This webinar is about extended benefits programs including the Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC) program.
  • Employee health and safety measures: Last week, OED had to temporarily close a few offices due to high winds, and later, wildfire smoke and evacuation orders. Right now, all offices are open. They are monitoring the air quality, and have consulted with Oregon OSHA for standards and guidance for employee safety. Employees also have several avenues to get their questions and concerns to OED and their safety and facilities team have been working tirelessly to respond to every work place in the state in need of attention. Dampers are shut, windows are closed, and dozens of industrial HEPA air scrubbing machines are in locations where employees are working on unemployment claims.  Although all offices are back open, some employees have also been personally affected by the fires. Oregon state government provides an Employee Assistance Program benefit to help employees through stressful times, such as these.
  • Senate Bill 1701 implementation: OED was able to complete needed program changes to implement SB 1701 this week, instead of much later in the winter. Senate Bill 1701 allows claimants to earn up to $300, while working, before seeing a reduction in their weekly benefits. This is meant to help employees and employers bring folks back part time without losing all benefits.  See Q & As here with examples.
    • What happens if I earn the same as, or more than, my weekly benefit amount? Any amount earned over $300 will be reduced from their weekly benefit, dollar-for-dollar. 
    • Example 1: If you have $150 in gross earnings and your benefit is $151, you will receive your full benefit amount. Why: You made less in gross earnings than your benefit amount.
    • Example 2: If you have $151 in gross earnings and your benefit is $151, you will not receive benefits that week. Why: You earned the same amount as your benefit amount. 
    • Example 3: If you have $225 in gross earnings and your benefit is $300, you will receive your full benefit amount. Why: Your gross earnings are less than your weekly benefit limit of $300.
    • Example 4: If you have $300 in gross earnings and your benefit amount is $500, you will receive your full benefit amount. Why: Your $300 in gross earnings is less than your weekly benefit amount AND you do not exceed the $300 limit for gross earnings.
    • Example 5: If you have $325 in gross earnings and your benefit amount is $500, you will receive $475 in benefits. Why: Your gross earnings are higher than the $300 limit created by SB 1701. After you pass $300 in weekly earnings, your benefit amount is reduced dollar-for-dollar for any amount over $300. Since your earnings are $25 over the $300 limit, your benefit amount will be reduced by $25.
  • Wildfires and Disaster Unemployment Assistance (DUA): The President approved a disaster declaration for the Oregon wildfires. The disaster assistance period begins September 13, 2020 but the agency has already begun preparing to enact Disaster Unemployment Assistance (DUA). DUA provides benefits to individuals who are not eligible for regular unemployment insurance benefits or extensions. While this is the program that Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) is based on, there are differences. This disaster declaration now includes individual assistance in the following counties: Clackamas; Douglas; Jackson; Klamath; Lane; Lincoln; Linn; and Marion.
    • OED has an update on Oregon Wildfires on the website that can help answer some questions about how we can continue to reach your constituents. 
    • OED added a “button” to the contact us form to help get to people who need immediate attention as a result of the wildfires. “I evacuated due to the fires, I need a new ReliaCard or to set up Direct Deposit” 
  • Lost Wages Assistance (LWA): Last Friday, online self-certification for LWA launched. Self-certification is required by FEMA for eligible claimants who receive UI, PEUC, or EB benefits for a COVID-19 reason. The online self-certification form is available in English and Spanish.
    • Claimants seeking the six weeks of additional $300 weekly benefits should visit the Online Claims System and scroll down to “Lost Wages Assistance.” Those with language access needs can contact the department by email at  or call the language hotline 503-606-6969
  • Step-by-Step Guides: OED continuously works to improve the website and there is now a step-by-step section that provides videos, and guides for how to file claims, submit weekly certifications, and more. Please take a look, and refer customers HERE for these helpful guides
  • Modernization: The notice of intent to contract with a vendor to modernize the state unemployment insurance systems was released this past week.  Director Gerstenfeld shared, "After a year-long procurement process, the Employment Department is one step closer to completing our modernization program. These improvements will allow us to more effectively serve unemployed Oregonians and improve security." 
    • Modernization Q&As here.
    • A Notice of Intent to Award (“NITA”) is a written notice that Department of Administrative Services (DAS) issues indicating that the procurement’s evaluation phase is complete. 
    • The NITA also names the top-ranking vendor who is being considered for the contract award (in this case, FAST Enterprises). FAST then has the opportunity to accept the intent to award, and enter the final contract negotiation phase. 
    • The contract negotiation team will include members from throughout the agency, and representatives from Department of Administrative Services and the Department of Justice. The team will work with the vendor to finalize contract negotiations in the context of the stated conditions and sign the contract.

School Resources:

Washington County Cooperative Library Services has created new resources for online learners in Washington County.  

To support schools, teachers, parents and other caregivers who will be involved with students’ remote schooling this fall, they’ve created distance learning resources for grades K-12. Resources include live tutoring, homework help, scads of online reference materials, writing assistance … and much more.

Resources are available in both English and Spanish.  All online resources are free and immediately available to Washington County residents with online registration.

Library Resources

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.  

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