Do What You Can Do 10/22/2020

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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


This photo from the Rogue River was provided by Sean Bagshaw. 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.

COVID notes

“We are going in the wrong direction, and it is concerning.” That’s how Jackson County Medical Director Dr. Jim Shames announced a single-day record of 38 new COVID cases in our county this week. The larger story includes a steady, fairly flat infection rate in Oregon (the total cases just passed 40,000, including 635 total deaths) and accelerating rates in some 40 states across the country.


As colder weather begins to push more activities indoors and the annual flu season begins, this is not where we wanted to be. We find ourselves in a prolonged middle ground; the infection rates aren’t severe enough to unite us with single-minded determination to do any and everything possible to end the threat, and aren’t low enough to make further re-opening a smart option. After months of navigating the uncertainties as well as we can, it’s hard not to get demoralized...enough, already!

Like many of you, I try to spend at least a bit of time every day to refresh my attitude and reach a broader perspective.  It’s usually pretty simple—a short walk with my dog, an inconsequential phone call to catch up with a friend, a knock on an older neighbor’s door for a masked check-in on how he or she is doing, or just a few quiet moments to slow down my mind. I welcome any reminder that the cramped struggle with this numbing crisis is temporary, and that there are people out there who can use support and who are equally ready to support me. These interruptions of the gloom sustain my energy...that and staying current with public plan for putting the pandemic behind us. As usual, you’ll find other COVID resources below.

Fire Aftermath

First and foremost: tomorrow, Friday, is an important deadline.  For those who lost a home in the Almeda fire, it’s the last day to file a right-of-entry form to allow the removal of hazardous waste from your site, the first necessary step in the overall cleanup process. If your job was affected, it’s the last day to apply for a newly-created Disaster Unemployment Assistance program. Details, along with access information to free legal help if you run in to any snarls, are here.


The Wildfire Economic Recovery Council on which Rep. Pam Marsh and I serve had its third meeting this week. We’re still focused on safe and effective ash/debris removal, the critical first step in preparing properties for redevelopment. As much as we all wanted a substantial head start on this task before the rains start in earnest, very little material has yet been moved; burned-out areas are still being combed for hazardous waste. Everyone involved understands the importance of moving quickly. But “quick” is a vague and relative term when it comes to responding safely to a disaster that dwarfs anything we’ve experienced before.

We’re also gearing up to push for serious funding of two initiatives:

  1. Project Turnkey, a request of $65 Million from the legislature’s Emergency Board to purchase roughly twenty identified hotels and motels across the state to convert to some 1000 units of near- and intermediate-term housing. This idea has been bubbling for months now, originally as a way to serve homeless people needing quarantine because of COVID infection. The displacement of so many people by the Almeda fire multiplied the need, and I’m hopeful we’ll see the program funded this week. The task of cost-effectively repurposing some of these businesses into clusters of simple, adequate housing isn’t simple, but we have some smart and experienced people on the task.
  2. General property acquisition. A question that those trying to imagine Jackson County’s future commonly ask is this: will redevelopment of the Highway 99 corridor include a solid quantity of low-income housing? The answer hinges partly on who owns key parcels, including some of the burned-out mobile home parks, going forward. If they remain or fall to the ownership of distant corporations with meager stake in the Rogue Valley’s long-term wellbeing, it’s hard to hold a very positive vision. Large-scale development generally relies on the incentive of business profit, but we hope to make sure that’s not the only objective driving this enterprise.

More on the Recovery Council’s work later. You’ll find other Wildfire-related resources below.

The Election

    We’ve been talking about it forever. Now it’s here. Our election ballots arrived last week; a record-breaking number of you have already filled your ballot out and returned it. The rest of you will do that soon--I hope.


I’m stirred up by the approach of Election Day. I was preparing to write about it when this post from Michael Shuman, an old friend who’s led the national movement to build local economies, came my way. I wouldn’t have said it as well as he has.


Don’t let that ballot sit around. Mail it by this Monday, October 26, or put it in an official drop box near you

Best for now,


Senator Jeff Golden, Oregon Senate District 3

Do you have a question I might be able to answer? 
Email me your question at:
Each week I'll post a video on my Facebook page answering one of your questions.

COVID resources

  • The Oregon Health Authority has issued new mask use guidance, which can be viewed in detail here.

  • Governor Brown's website is a great resource for specific and general COVID information.

  • This OHA page is dedicated to information on COVID-19 with links to the latest announcements, guidance etc. 

  • Visit the Jackson County Public Health website or you can call Jackson County Health and Human services with questions at 541-774-8200.

Wildfire Resources

  • Oregon Trial Lawyers Association members are volunteering their time to help fire victims with insurance claims. For more information, visit their website or call 800-809-0616.

  • If you are in need of mental health support, there is free crisis counseling is available through the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s Disaster Distress Helpline. Call 800-985-5990 (Spanish Press 2) or text “TalkWithUs” to 66746 (for Spanish text “Hablamos” to 66746) to connect with a trained crisis counselor. For more information, click here.

  • Disaster Food Assistance is available for those affected by the wildfires. If you are not eligible for Oregon SNAP, you may still be eligible for Disaster Food Assistance. The deadline to apply is October 28th. Click here for more information.
  • Rogue Valley Rebuilds is a website chalked full of resources and information regarding FEMA, wildfire cleanup, resources, and more.

  • 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.


FEMA information

How to register:

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

For general information, visit the FEMA homepage for Oregon Wildfires.

Disaster Unemployment Assistance

  • Disaster survivors who have lost work as a direct result of the Oregon wildfires since Sept. 7 may be eligible for Disaster Unemployment Assistance (DUA).
  • To apply, go to, or call 503-570-5000 between 8am-5pm
  • The deadline to file a claim is Oct. 23, 2020  

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