Do What You Can Do 11/11/2020

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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 of Lithia Park was provided by Jack Leishman. We want your beautiful Southern Oregon photo for this newsletter! Send it to with the subject “Photo Reminder.” We’d love to feature them.

COVID news

“Oregonians are worn out.” That’s what Dr. Dana Hargunani, the state’s Chief Medical Officer, told the news media at the Governor’s news conference on COVID-19 yesterday. I know I’m worn out starting off newsletter after newsletter with grim updates about COVID’s spread. I’ve been wanting to share better news for months now. That will have to wait for a while—maybe quite a while.

The weekly COVID case count trend in Jackson County


The Governor has announced a “pause” on social activity—details on exactly what that means are here—in nine Oregon counties with the highest recent infection rates (four counties were announced after the initial five described in this report). Jackson is one of them. New infections in Jackson/Josephine counties are up 150% in the past week, and at yesterday’s news conference a spokesman from Asante’s medical center in Medford said their COVID admissions have tripled this week. That really got my attention; some people who question the seriousness of the pandemic seem to think that while new case numbers might be soaring, people aren’t getting very sick in the way they were months ago. The wave of new patients admitted to Asante, and reports of hospitals around the country that are close to running out of capacity, say otherwise. Add the way colder weather pushes more of our activity indoors and we’re at a genuinely critical moment.

The pause lasts until November 25, the day before Thanksgiving. Speaking of which—public health officials are urgently asking us not to gather with anyone outside our household members on Thanksgiving Day. A big ask indeed; Thanksgiving is probably my favorite holiday, and casually sitting around with close friends and family I love is the best part of it. But I’ll pass this year, and hope that most people will as well, because small indoor social gatherings have been pinpointed as the most common vector of COVID’s spread.

What happens to the “pause” after that? You’d have to know the trend of the infection rate over the next two weeks to answer that. As I’ve said a couple of times, re-opening Oregon is more like a dial than a switch. The Governor just dialed down. With a broad commitment to rigorous distancing and masking, maybe she can turn it in the other direction in late November.

The E-Board strikes again...

Last time I reported on how the legislature’s Emergency Board approved $30M for Project Turnkey to purchase and renovate old motels in order to house wildfire victims and, over time, help us address homelessness generally. If you watched the video of that long hearing, you saw an unusually dramatic showdown where an additional $35M for motel purchases responding to COVID-19 challenges was rejected at the last minute.

Over the days that followed a couple of key legislators reconsidered their no votes. When the E-Board reconvened Monday, it passed the second half of Project Turnkey, now providing a total of $65M to repurpose old motels for people needing shelter through the current crises and beyond. I’m glad that happened. Over time I’m confident this will turn out to be a valuable and cost-effective element of a broader affordable housing strategy. Here’s a summary of all the E-board did this week.

Campaign Finance Reform


Image from Valentyn Semenov / EyeEm

Above and beyond the most memorable presidential election I can remember, November 3 gave us a mix of big news. A huge highlight for me was the 78-22% victory of Ballot Measure 107, amending the state constitution to make it clear that we have the authority to regulate political campaign money. This was the voters’ ratification of SJR 18, the first bill I was able to pass when I got to Salem in 2019.


A tougher argument lies ahead in 2021, when the legislature takes up a bill to specify the limits on campaign donations. It will be heated. There’s some disagreement over how much individuals should be able to donate, and even more over the size of checks that small donor committees, which will be able to aggregate relatively small contributions, should be able to write. I have strong opinions on all this and can just about guarantee you’ll be hearing them in detail over months to come. For now, though, I’m celebrating a terrific electoral validation of what’s been obvious for years: Oregonians are completely fed up with how much big campaign checks sway political decisions. 

Getting philosophical


I had a really good time this week on the podcast of Brian Prawitz, a Roseburg journalist who brings passion and curiosity to the conversation. I don’t know that it qualifies as the most hopeful outlook on the future you’ve ever heard, but it’s honest. And it was a treat to be able to dive deeper into the possibilities and barriers ahead of us than usually happens in video interviews. I hope you have time to check it out, here.   

Be safe and be well--


Senator Jeff Golden, Oregon Senate District 3


Do you have a question I might be able to answer? 
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COVID information

Oregon's Daily Testing Trends

covid oregon
  • The Oregon Food Bank has created this page where you can search for a food pantry or pick-up site near you.

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

  • OHA's website is dedicated to information on COVID-19 with links to the latest announcements, guidance etc. 

  • Have questions about COVID-19 in Jackson County? 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 will be holding an in-person legal consultation event in Southern Oregon on November 14th. The location is TBD but will be posted on this page.

  • If you suffered losses in the Almeda Fire you may be eligible for assistance through United Way. Click here to apply by November 15.

  • If you would like in-person help with your FEMA claim or other wildfire related questions, you can visit the Federal Emergency Management Agency at Central High School, 815 S. Oakdale Ave., Medford.

  • Free disaster distress 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.

  • Rogue Valley Rebuilds is a great website for up-to-date wildfire recovery information specific to Jackson County.

Disaster unemployment assistance (DUA):

The deadline to apply for DUA has been extended to November 27th.

  • 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

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