Do What You Can Do 9/29/2020

View Online
Senator Jeff Golden

 *  “I am only one, but still I am one. I cannot do everything, but still I can do something; And because I cannot do everything I will not refuse to do the something that I can do.” 
—Helen Keller

main photo

This photo from Talent was provided by Carlyle Stout. Have a photo you've taken and want to share with us? Send it to with the subject “Photo Reminder.” We’d love to feature them.

A rare day in Salem

I left home at first light this past Friday to arrive at the Capitol in time for an 11am Senate Floor session for a single purpose: approving a list of several dozen gubernatorial appointments to various Boards and Commissions.  That’s a constitutional duty of the Senate alone and, unlike all our many ongoing committee and task force meetings, we have to perform it in person rather than online.

These confirmation votes are usually pretty ho-hum events. Not this time. At the last moment, and before they could get any public hearing, a trio of the Governor's nominees for the Board of Forestry was withdrawn from the list. This has happened countless times over the years with nominees to the boards of vitally important natural resource agencies; if two or three key Senators turn their thumbs down in private conversations, the nominees often don’t make it to a public vote.

This is a very big deal. For all the great oratory you might hear from legislators about clean air, clean water, climate, forest health, toxic spraying, land use or any other environmental topic, the real nitty-gritty of environmental policy generally flows from the administrative rules passed by state agencies—the departments of forestry, water resources, land conservation and development, environmental quality, and others. Final decision on these rules are in the hands of these citizen board members. So when board appointments are scuttled by a very few legislators, state government’s critical environment policy decisions are effectively getting made in the dark. That’s been true for a long time. I thought that calling this out was important enough to disrupt this normally pro forma occasion.

The point wasn’t to push my views (though I definitely have them) on what perspectives should be on these boards. In a state deeply divided on environmental issues, it’s inevitable, probably healthy, that we elected representatives will disagree on who should serve. But we owe it to you to have those arguments in the full light of day, so you can know exactly where we stand and whether you want us to continue representing you. Too often, that's not how it’s worked. That’s what prompted my floor speech, here. The process has to change, and I’d welcome your support for changing it.

The Oregonian did a good job reporting what I said, here, and how the Senate Republican Leader reacted. After he sat down, the roll was called to approve the long list of gubernatorial appointments. They passed on a vote of 22-1. The “1” was me.

Then I drove home in time for Friday dinner.

The coming election

If you’re politically-minded enough to subscribe to this newsletter, I know you’re following the roll-up to the November 3 election. I want to weigh in with three comments.

  • VOTE—not just for President and U.S. Senator, but all the way down the ballot to the most local races. Some of those positions closest to home can have critical impact on your life day-to-day.
  • If you still need to register, do it online here The deadline is Tuesday, October 13, three weeks before election day. If the fires have disrupted your address in some way, check out the Secretary of State's guidance for what to do.
  • If you have deep concerns about whether the upcoming election results will be respected, you are far from alone. I’ll have more to say about that later. One group organizing to head off chaos, if you want to get involved, is here.

Our times are not getting more stable or secure. Not yet. I’ll do my best to keep you informed, especially on the persisting Covid and Wildfire challenges; that’s what the list of resources below are for. In the meantime, keep doing what you can do.


Senator Jeff Golden, Oregon Senate District 3

Wildfire resources

  • First I want to share with you an unusually powerful Oregonian article, on the fire’s impact on the valley’s Latinx community here.

  • If you have general questions regarding resources or need help finding resources, call the Jackson County communications line, 541-776-7338.

  • The Governor's office created this page for wildfire resources. This page will continue to be updated with additional resources. 

  • It's important to opt-in to emergency alerts. There are four different ways to do this through different services.
    1) Text 888-777 with your zip code for all fire and evacuation messages.
    2) To receive county emergency alerts through text, sign up for the Jackson County Citizen Alert system. 
    3) If you live in Ashland, you can sign up for text alerts through Nixle.
    4) The Oregon Office of Emergency Management also has this alert system.

  • If you are in need of mental health support, call Jackson County Mental Health: 541-774-8201. They are open 24hrs/day. You can also text the Crisis Text line: Text HOME to 747-747.

FEMA information

  • If you were affected by the fires and have insurance, first go through your insurance and then register at FEMA to see what you are eligible for.

How to register:

  1. Register through the FEMA website.
  2. Call FEMA: 1-800-621-3362
  3. Download the FEMA Mobile App.

Information about FEMA:

  • This FEMA page has information regarding Disaster Unemployment Assistance in English and Spanish.

  • This page has information about how individuals can register for assistance.

  • This FEMA Fact Sheet has additional information.

Denied FEMA application:

  • If you were affected by the fires, applied for FEMA assistance, and were denied or deemed ineligible, it is important to follow the process and appeal that decision. FEMA has a document regarding why you may have been found ineligible in both English and Spanish.
FEMA appeal

Where to find help

  • A Multi-Agency Resource Center has been opened at the old Central Medford High School with smaller satellite locations in Talent, Phoenix, and Shady Cove. They are open everyday from 8am-8pm.
    These centers have representatives from FEMA, ACCESS (only at Medford location), insurance agencies, city representatives, and the Red Cross. Below you will find more information for each location.
         Medford - Central High School, 815 S. Oakdale Avenue, 541-842-3669
         Talent -Talent Elementary School, 307 Wagner Creek Road, 541- 535-1531
         Phoenix - Phoenix Civic Center, 220 N. Main Street, 541-535-1955 ext.  303
         Shady Cove - The Riverhouse, 7710 Rogue River Drive, 541-774-8183

  • Jackson County Library Services is collect gently used books and toys that families can pick up at the Ashland, Central Point, Jacksonville, and White City branches beginning October 1st during library hours.

  • If you have been evacuated and need a place to stay or eat, this page has information about shelters and free meals.

Where to give

  • The MRG Foundation has established the Rogue Valley Relief Fund. MRG has a solid track record for getting resources to people who most need them in smart, efficient ways.

  • United Way of Jackson County has set up a Fire Relief Fund for those who would like to donate.

  • Unete, an organization centered around supporting farm workers and immigrant families has established the Immigrant Fire Relief Fund to aid those impacted by the fire with rent/utilities and food.

  • Rogue Food Unites is doing great work coordinating disaster relief meals for all three meals. Visit their website if you would like to donate or if you are a restaurant owner that would like to participate.

  • Click here if you would like to volunteer to help.

COVID-19 information and resources

Capitol Phone: 503-986-1703
Capitol Address: 900 Court St NE, S-421, Salem, OR, 97301 
Podcast: Capitolizing