Pick up the Call to Help our Contact Tracers

Senator Wagner

Contact Tracing: Answering the Call

Dear Friends and Neighbors,

By now, many of you will have heard that Oregon will receive resources to perform up to 80,000 coronavirus tests per week – more than double the current capacity. This is great news, but it is also only one tool in our toolbox for mitigating the spread of COVID-19. By exercising all public health recommendations, you have the best shot at keeping you and your loved ones safe.

I am grateful our increased testing capacity will be complemented by thorough contact tracing, which is critical to helping Oregonians know when they need to move from every day physical distancing measures to quarantine and isolation. That’s why it’s so important to answer your phone or return calls, if you are called by a contact tracer. To learn more about what to expect from a contact tracing call, click on the video below and read through the graphic.

Contact Tracing: Answering the Call videoContact Tracing Infographic

1865 Treaty Nullification Act & Indigenous Peoples' Day

Recently, Congress voted unanimously to pass the 1865 Treaty Nullification Act. The 1865 treaty prohibited members of the Warm Springs and Wasco Tribes from leaving the reservation without permission – a betrayal of the previous 1855 Treaty, which had established rights to land and off-reservation hunting and fishing. Although Oregon has held a policy of not enforcing the 1865 treaty, its nullification acknowledges historic oppression and guards against future injustice.

As we recognize and celebrate Indigenous Peoples’ Day today, it is appropriate and necessary to take time to reflect on the suffering our Indigenous neighbors have faced within our state and our nation. This includes the Murdered and Missing Indigenous Women epidemic and the disproportionate effects of coronavirus on Indigenous communities. These ongoing impacts are an important part of the racial reckoning taking place across the country. We must ensure the conversations, learning and action are ongoing.


Warm Springs first tribal council in 1928. From left to right: George Meachum, Isaac McKinley, Charley McKinley, Nathan Heath and Jackson Culps. PC: The Museum at Warm Springs (via OPB).

Virtual Town Halls: Oregon’s Paid Family and Medical Leave Insurance (PFMLI) Program

The Oregon Employment Department is launching a series of virtual town hall meetings to gather public input on the implementation of Oregon’s Paid Family and Medical Leave Insurance (PFMLI) program. This is part of the implementation of HB 2005 from the 2019 Legislative Session – a bill which I was proud to sponsor alongside many Senate Democrats.

Because the program is still in development, these virtual town halls will serve as listening sessions for the PFMLI team to gather information. Town hall participants are invited to identify issues, offer ideas, raise concerns, or make suggestions relating to the program’s development and implementation.

You can view the full Town Hall schedule at the Employment Department’s PFMLI website. If you plan to attend one or more of the Town Halls, be sure to register in advance.

You may also submit written feedback if you are unable to attend. Please send all questions, comments or ideas to PaidFamilyandMedicalLeave@oregon.gov.

You Still Have Time to Return Your Census

A U.S. District Judge has ruled that the Census must continue through the end of this month, rather than ending on September 30th or October 5th as previously announced.

That said, if you (or someone you know) have not yet responded to the Census, I urge you to do so as soon as possible. The current administration continues to fight this ruling, and a new deadline may be set at any time.

The Census takes just a few minutes to complete, it’s confidential and it informs critical funding and appropriate representation in our state for the next ten years. Visit the 2020 Census page to learn more.

Get Counted

Community Spotlight: Emily Zou

This week, I am highlighting the work of Lakeridge sophomore Emily Zou. Emily has been using her art and design skills to make and sell stickers, donating 100% of the net proceeds to Don’t Shoot PDX.

When Emily was deciding where to send her donations, she said it was important that she choose a local organization fighting for racial justice. Thank you for your creativity and your commitment to building a better community, Emily! We are lucky to have you in Senate District 19.

To learn more about Emily’s project and those of her peers in our area, check out this Portland Tribune article.

Medicare Open Enrollment and the Oregon Senior Health Insurance Benefits Assistance (SHIBA) Program

Each October, open enrollment begins for Medicare Advantage and Part D prescription drug plans. Medicare plans and drug formularies change each year, so it is important for Oregonians who are enrolled in Medicare to evaluate their plan options and make changes during open enrollment, which is from October 15th to December 7th this year. The Oregon Senior Health Insurance Benefits Assistance (SHIBA) program is still available to help during the pandemic, but only remotely at this time. 

SHIBA counselors can help Oregonians navigate the Medicare Plan Finder Tool to enter prescriptions and compare the cost and benefits of individual drug plans, provide enrollment guidance, and answer any other questions related to Medicare benefits. SHIBA’s 2021 Oregon Guide to Medicare Insurance Plans will be available by October 15th and in limited print copies in November. Find local help by calling 800-722-4134 (toll-free) or visiting the SHIBA website.

Domestic Violence Awareness Month

October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month, which evolved from the “Day of Unity” in 1981 observed by the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence. The intent was to connect advocates across the nation who were working to end violence against women and their children.

Help raise awareness and educate others about domestic violence prevalence and resources to help by visiting the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence website.

If you or someone you love is a victim of intimate partner violence, reach out to the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233 or chat online (please be aware that internet and phone usage can be monitored and is impossible to erase completely – if this is a concern, please seek assistance from a friend or neighbor to access resources).

NCDAV Hotlines Stats

As always, please let me know if you need any assistance. My office and I will work to connect you with resources and get answers as quickly as possible.


RW Signature

Senate Majority Leader Rob Wagner
Senate District 19

email: Sen.RobWagner@OregonLegislature.gov I phone: 503-986-1719
address: 900 Court St NE, S-223, Salem, OR, 97301
website: http://www.oregonlegislature.gov/wagner