September 29th Update: Wildfires and COVID-19

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Dear Friends and Neighbors, 

The last few days have been beautiful fall days! Warmth and sunshine most of the day and cool crisp mornings and evenings! The air has been great compared to our sustained days of smoke! 

Nice Weathr

COVID-19 Updates:

New Developments

  • Eviction Moratorium: Yesterday, Governor Brown extended the existing statewide moratorium on residential evictions through the end of 2020. This means that no one can be evicted from a home they are renting for non-payment of rent alone.  This is vital to maintaining the safety and housing security of our state, but I know it places a significant strain on landlords, especially those whose sole income comes from rent.  My hope is that we will have another round of federal aid that we can direct towards more rental assistance and assistance for rental owners.  The full text of Governor Brown’s executive order is available here.
  • School Updates: 
    • Distance Learning is challenging for everyone, teachers, students and families.  This article from the Statesman Journal articulates well the challenges so many folks are experiencing, and the creativity and ingenuity they are applying to meet these new challenges.  
    • There have been COVID-19 cases in at least 4 Oregon school districts, some of those cases were in students and staff that are in person in schools, and some were in individuals participating in all-online learning.  These cases have spurred a new effort at transparency and starting next week all districts will report how many students attended some kind of in-person instruction.  Learn more from this Oregonian article.  
    • Wildfires have affected our statewide testing, destroying some samples, delaying test results, and making it more difficult for folks to get tested.  As a result of this disruption, the department of education has relaxed the test positivity metric for in-person learning.  Districts will be allowed to disregard test-positivity rates for September, and rely on case rates and new case numbers for making decisions about in-person learning. Case rates are on the rise in many parts of the state, so this relaxation will impact only a few counties.  Learn more from this OPB article.  
  • Forest Grove School District: recently posted more details about their childcare options.  You can view this here
  • Hillsboro School District:
    • For students needing emergency WiFi, there are several locations around the greater Hillsboro and Beaverton area where students can get free access to the internet. Learn more here
    • The food pantry at W.L. Henry Elementary School (1060 SE 24th Ave., Hillsboro) is open to all HSD families every other Tuesday from 2:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. Upcoming dates are 10/6 and 10/20. Learn more here
    • School Meals are also available for all students via bus routes. Deliveries will take place Monday through Friday on school days, starting Tuesday, Sept. 8, and will include both breakfast and lunch. Students will receive their meals free of charge. To find out the location and time of the meal delivery for your student, visit the MyBus Student Route Look-up Tool on our website.  In addition to bus routes, there will be 6 locations where students can pick up their meals from 11:45 a.m. - 12:45 p.m.: RA Brown, Century, Lincoln Street, Poynter, South Meadows, and Evergreen. Learn more here.
Free Meals

  • Cultural Funds: The Cultural Trust received approval to work with the Clackamas County Cultural Coalition to make awards to Coronavirus Relief Funding Cultural Support recipients in Washington County.The Cultural Coalition of Washington County, which is an advisory body to the Board of County Commissioners, declined to accept the management of the awards, out of concerns that there connection to the county government made them ineligible for management. There are 32 awards totaling $1,638,592 for Washington County organizations, list is attached. For a list of all awards across the state see the media release
  • Behavioral Health Resources: The Oregon Health Authority (OHA) announced the launch of a behavioral health outreach and education effort and new helpline for Oregonians. These new resources will help support increased behavioral health needs in our communities due to the broad impacts of COVID-19 and the once-in-a-lifetime wildfire season. Portland-based nonprofit Lines for Life and OHA have launched the Safe + Strong Helpline at 800-923-4357 (800-923-HELP). The line offers free, 24-7 emotional support and resource referral to anyone who needs it – not only those experiencing a mental health crisis. The Safe + Strong Helpline is a response to needs for emotional support around disasters like COVID-19 and wildfires and was funded by the CARES Act. Callers are routed to a counselor who can provide emotional support, mental health triage, drug and alcohol counseling, crisis counseling or just connection.
  • Long-Term Care Testing (From the Department of Human Services) 
    •  534, or 78 percent of large long-term care facilities, have completed initial testing as of September 24.
    • All facilities that have requested testing support from the state have either already received support or are scheduled to receive testing support by September 28. Facilities have until September 30 to complete their reporting requirements.
    • Draft rules for the second phase of the plan, which involves ongoing testing of long-term care staff, are in development. 
  • Employment Related Day Care (ERDC) (From the Department of Human Services) 
    • The ERDC copay is temporarily $0. Families currently on ERDC and receiving a $0 copay will continue to have a $0 copay until the end of their current certification period. New ERDC families and families recertifying through October 31 will also have a $0 copay through the end of their 12-month certification period.
    • The income limit has been increased from 185 percent of the Federal Poverty Level to the higher exit limit of 250 percent or 85 percent of the State Median Income, whichever is greater. This will continue through October 31.
    • Billings are allowed for absences or temporary closures related to COVID-19 for ODHS eligible child care families currently connected to the provider through October 31.
  • Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) (From the Department of Human Services) 
    • Emergency Allotments - Emergency allotments increase a households’ benefit amount to the maximum allotment for the household size regardless of income. Emergency allotments are approved by the federal Food and Nutrition Services (FNS) program on a month-to-month basis and require both the state and federal government to be in a state of emergency. Oregon was approved to distribute emergency allotments from April to September. We have applied to issue October emergency allotments and are awaiting approval.
    • Pandemic EBT - The Pandemic EBT program provides food benefits for students who lost access to free meals through a school participating in the National School Lunch Program (NSLP) when they suddenly closed due to COVID-19. Oregon is nearing completion in dispersing benefits for the 2019-20 school year, and as of September 12, 2020, more than $118 million in food benefits has been distributed to nearly 200,000 Oregon families.
    • September Pandemic EBT- ODHS and the Oregon Department of Education (ODE) received federal approval to issue September Pandemic EBT benefits. Benefits will start being distributed September 28, and recipients may see two deposits on their Oregon EBT card – an initial deposit of $100 and a second deposit for all students receiving an amount over $100. Amounts vary by school district and can be up to $176 depending on the school’s start date. A news release with more details will soon be available at this link.
  • Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) (From the Department of Human Services) 
    • In March, the initial resource limit for applicants was increased from $2,500 to $10,000 and it will continue to be increased through November 30, 2020.

Case Data

  • National Numbers: 
    • Confirmed Cases: 7,129,313 (up 33,891 from yesterday)
    • Deaths: 204,598 (up 270 from yesterday)
    • Cases in the last 7 days: 304,696
    • 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 33,291 total cases (confirmed and presumptive) of COVID-19.  
    • Today we have 299 new confirmed and presumptive cases, and 8 new deaths. 
    • Monday: 181 cases, 0 deaths
    • Sunday: 242 cases, 1 deaths
    • Saturday: 277 cases, 4 deaths
    • A total of 555 Oregonians have died from COVID-19.  
  • Washington County still has one of the highest case counts at 4581 confirmed cases.  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 9.28

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

Wildfire Updates:

Large Fire Map

Map of the large fires still on the Oregon Landscape, click to be linked to more information.

Fire Containment

Current Containment Levels for Large Fires as of 9/28

Human Impacts of Fires
  • Governor Kate Brown today announced she is convening a Wildfire Economic Recovery Council to evaluate the economic and community needs of Oregonians statewide as a result of the 2020 wildfire season. The council, co-chaired by Labor Commissioner Val Hoyle and State Treasurer Tobias Read, will work to help counties implement economic recovery solutions, bringing together federal, state, and local resources to support communities impacted by wildfires.  The full announcement is available here. The council will convene next week, and will complete its initial work by December 31. The council’s scope of work will include:
    • Assessing the community and economic impacts of the fire and assistance needs; 
    • Coordinating community needs and streamlining assistance; 
    • Elevating immediate response needs to the Governor’s Disaster Cabinet; 
    • Identifying possible budget and legislative needs related to wildfire economic recovery; 
    • Working with the Governor’s Regional Solutions staff to coordinate state agencies to help address fire impacts and promote economic stability, public safety and natural resource recovery, including working with local and federal partners; and 
    • Apprising the Governor of any further needs identified during the council’s work.
  • Fire or Act of God —Tax proration: Oregon’s tax year runs from July 1 through June 30 of the subsequent calendar year. Taxes on property that has experienced a casualty loss due to either an act of God or a fire during the tax year may be eligible for reduction. The reduction is referred to as a “proration of tax.” Application Here.
  • FEMA Updates: FEMA has provided several different Fact Sheets and resources for accessing benefits, determining eligibility and avoiding scams.

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.  

The Oregon Office of Emergency Management is pushing out information on Twitter:

Red Cross Cascades has updates on how to help:

Forest Grove Fire and Rescue: 

Tualatin Valley Fire and Rescue is updating through Twitter:

Clackamas Fire:

Emergency alerts for Medford:

And OPB has live updates on fires and evacuation orders running here:

Additional Resources

Employers and Employees

Education Links

Local Government

Utilities Assistance

Food and Housing Assistance



Oregon Health Authority


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