November 21st Update: Preparing for a distanced holiday, unemployment, and other updates

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Dear Friends and Neighbors, 

Our sobering uptick in new daily cases continues with 3 more consecutive days with more than 1,000 new cases.  Last week we also set a state record for our numbers of hospitalizations and saw an increase in our test positivity rate.  With the holidays fast approaching we all need to rethink how we will celebrate.  The best way to show our friends and family we love them is to keep our distance, and find other ways to connect with them and show our love.  Below you will find some helpful graphics describing ways to connect with your family, and support local businesses while keeping yourselves and our community safe.

Assorted photos of Rep McLain and other electeds, without masks (pre-COVID) and with masks recently

I miss seeing my colleagues and the capitol in-person. Remote sessions and work are not the same, but they are necessary for now!

Preparing for a Safe Holiday Season

Declining Holiday Invites: It can be awkward and difficult to talk to your family about changing holiday plans, or to decline an invitation from friends.  The Oregonian put together this list of polite ways to have that chat, you can read it here.  Also, Oregon Health Sciences University has put together some tools and graphics for you to use as well, you can find them on their facebook page (and below).

Saying "thanks but no thanks" to Thanksgiving plans

Holiday Meals: Gathering around a table for a holiday meal will look different this year. During the freeze, only two households can gather together with no more than six people together total. Remember it’s safest to enjoy your holiday meal with only the people you live with.  If you choose to celebrate with the lowest risk for spreading COVID-19, here are some ideas: 

  • Join friends and family over a video call. Setting the computer at the end of your tables can make it look like you’re all at a long table together.   
  • Cook a pie or favorite dish and drop it off on your loved one’s home without contact. 
  • Exchange photos of the people (or food) at your meal with the people you would normally invite.  
  • Send an email or letter with stories or memories from past holidays to let people know you’re thinking of them. 
Safe Holiday Dinner

Give the Gift of Oregon: Safely support local business with your holiday shopping. 

Governor Kate Brown has launched the “Give the Gift of Oregon” campaign as part of a comprehensive effort to support local businesses statewide. Shopping local is more important than ever due to the significant economic hardships that COVID-19 has created for Oregon businesses across the state. As we all do our part individually to contain the spread of the virus, businesses are implementing necessary health and safety measures to protect customers and employees so they can get back to business and stay open.

Travel Oregon and Business Oregon, the state’s tourism and economic development agencies, are collaborating to carry out this consumer campaign, which runs from November 18 through December 31. The project aims to inspire Oregonians to keep it local and support their favorite businesses as they check off holiday gift lists. There are many ways to shop locally online, and through safe retail operations. Travel Oregon is also appealing to Oregonians to help offset a nearly 60% reduction in direct travel spending, including shopping and restaurant business, that has affected the entire state.

Oregonians will be able to find featured businesses across the state, along with gift ideas on The campaign also highlights the Oregon Wine Board's The Giving Season efforts, as well as the Built Oregon Marketplace, an online platform that provides consumers with an opportunity to discover products from Oregon makers

Safe Holiday Shopping Graphic

New Developments

  • Economic Forecast: Earlier this week, the Office of Economic Analysis released the December Economic and Revenue Forecast for Oregon.  It is critically important for the recovery of our economy that individuals practice good public health protocols like wearing a mask, maintaining social distancing, avoiding groups and washing their hands. The state must do everything it can to help individuals and small businesses recover from the pandemic, particularly workers and businesses impacted by the Governor’s latest necessary public health measures. Here are some highlights from the report:
    • The revenue forecast is stable from the last revenue forecast in September.
    • For 2021-23, the forecast projects a $2.8 billion deficit between revenues and current service levels.
    • Like the last forecast, there is about $1.9 billion ending fund balance for the 2019-2021 biennium, but that still leaves a deficit of nearly $1 billion for the upcoming biennium.
    • While the forecast was done prior to the freeze, State Economists expect the impact will likely be muted since it’s temporary and more industry-specific than prior orders.
    • The forecast also assumes a vaccine will be widely available by mid to late 2021.
    • State economists, in their projections, continue to assume another federal economic stimulus, though smaller than previous relief packages.
    • Economists expect a return to pre-pandemic employment by 2023.
    • The kicker has not yet been triggered.
    • The forecast continues to obscure the painful impacts being felt by low-income Oregonians who have been disproportionately affected. 
    • December Economic and Revenue Forecast Presentation
    • December Forecast Summary
  • $20 million in Small Business Grants: Applications for this funding were made available November 19 on Business Oregon's website. Check the website early and submit your application quickly. Applications will be processed on a first-come-first-serve basis with a geographic overlay to ensure statewide distribution of proceeds. Grants will be available to small businesses that have seen lost revenue due to the pandemic, and that meet a minimal set of requirements. This round of funding makes some changes to previous rounds of grant funding under the program, so that businesses not eligible in earlier rounds can now access grant funding. Businesses with up to 100 employees can apply, whereas previous funding was limited to those with up to 25 employees, to ensure the smallest business could access the funds first.  Funds are slated to be fully deployed and out to small businesses by December 15.  Should you have any questions, please contact Business Oregon Regional Development Officer Michael Held at or 971-599-9489, or contact the Washington County Business Recovery Center
  • Call to Action-support for homeless youth: Second Home, a program of Ecumenical Ministries of Oregon, provides long-term housing for unaccompanied students so that they can focus on high school, graduate, and pursue their goals and dreams by connecting them with local host homes. We are currently recruiting volunteer home providers as we see our student numbers rising. Will you consider providing housing for a local student?  This amazing program is in need of people willing to open their homes to youth struggling to maintain the stability they need to complete their educational goals. While data is lacking for rural areas, we do know that in Oregon there were 22,314 students experiencing homelessness during the 2018/2019 school year. We know that within Washington County, excluding Beaverton and Hillsboro School Districts, we had 393 students identified as struggling with homelessness during last school year. These students need the help of their community, especially during this time in which distance learning and social isolation are the continued norm. Students not only need a stable place to live, but also need a stable place from which to connect remotely to school.  If you don’t feel like you are in a place to host right now please consider being a part of a volunteer team in Western Washington County that is coordinating supportive services to existing host homes. If you are reading this and feel like you may already be a host home, however informally, Second Home would also like to hear about what supports you may need.
    • For more information or if you have questions, contact Celeste Goulding for Western Washington County at or 503-985-8815 you can also go to the Second Home website for more information and all the forms and applications.  
  • Upcoming event: Timber Tax Fairness for Counties, Water and Forests
    • On Wednesday, Dec 2nd, from 6:00-7:30 PM, Tax Fairness Oregon is holding a community conversation about revenue restoration for forested counties, tax fairness, funding essential local services, and protecting drinking water.  The presentation will include opportunities to ask questions and explore possible solutions. The event will consider a few questions: 
      • Why can't some counties afford essential services? 
      • What do timberland corporate owners contribute to county needs?
      • What’s happening in our drinking watersheds?  
    • Guest Speakers:
      • Jody Wiser, tax policy expert, Tax Fairness Oregon
      • Richard Felley, retired water district manager, past director Tillamook Estuaries Partnership 
      • Catherine Thomasson, MD, Retired Director of Physicians for Social Responsibility 
    • Click here to register

Employment Updates:

Acting Employment Director David Gerstenfeld held another media briefing this week.  The recordings and highlights are below.  

Preparing for an influx of new and restarted claims: 

  • New Initial Claims
    • Go to the Oregon Employment Department (OED) website for help. On the left side, are links to step-by-step application guides/videos, the Unemployed Worker Handbook, FAQs, and online applications for regular unemployment benefits and Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA).
    • The website also has a search function where you can search for what you need.
    •  Initial claims can be filed here on the Online Claim System 
    • Can’t find what you are looking for? Use the Contact Us form
  • Restarting Claims
    • The Online Claim System here has a Restart Your Claim option (it’s the 8th button down).
    • For more information on restarting claims or moving to a new benefit program, visit this FAQ.
    • Unfortunately, PUA claimants cannot restart using the online claims system. OED is auto-processing restarts for regular UI and PUA, and claimants can request a restart online via the “Contact Us” form for both programs (selecting Restarting my claim, but PUA claimants do not have the option to click the Restart Your Claim button on the Online Claim System.
    • Use the Contact Us form and check the Restarting my claim option if you are unable to restart your own claim.
  • Employers
    • OED is developing an option for employers to bulk upload information for the employees they are laying off as a result of the statewide freeze. That form will be available on our website tomorrow, and we will share the URL once it is live. 

Other highlights:

  • Waiting Week: OED will be able to pay out the waiting week to eligible Oregonians who filed, or will file, a regular UI claim between March 8, 2020 and Jan. 2, 2021. 
    • The Waiting Week FAQ is now live on our website. You can find detailed information on the waiting week, including information on what claimants in different scenarios can expect regarding a waiting week payment.
    • As a reminder, claimants can log in to the Online Claim System to find out when their waiting week is. 
    • Eligible claimants who filed their initial unemployment claim between March 29 and July 25 will receive a $600 FPUC payment in addition to their regular UI payment
    • Eligible claimants who filed their initial claim between July 26 and Sept. 5 will receive a $300 LWA payment in addition
    • As a reminder, only people who were laid off and filed an initial regular UI claim have a waiting week -- PUA and DUA claimants did not have waiting weeks.
    • Most people will automatically see their waiting week amount via their regular method of payment within about 3 business days. But not everyone will get their payment this quickly:
      • Because of some complications, we estimate about 25% of eligible Oregonians will need to have their payment manually processed;
      • Claimants receiving PEUC, EB, or Workshare, or in some other scenarios, can expect to have their payment manually processed;
      • Most will be resolved by the end of December;
      • It may take until the end of January to complete all the manual payments – although we are working on how we can get all of those payments out as quickly as possible.
    • Claimants do not need to do anything to get their waiting week payment, and they do not need to call us, even if their claim will be manually processed.
    • More on this to come.
  • 2021 Tax Rates:
    • Last Friday OED announced that for 2021, Oregon’s payroll tax schedule will move to schedule 4 – the ‘equilibrium’ schedule. We mailed employers their individual tax rates, but if any employer has not received their notice by Friday Nov. 20, they should contact us by sending an email to or calling 503-947-1488.
    • Due to the projected high call volume, the department encourages contact by email.
    • The leading reason for this modest change is the health of Oregon’s trust fund, which kept us afloat during the Great Recession and is likely to remain solvent throughout the current recession. This is due to our longstanding statutory formula that keeps our trust fund solvent, saving Oregon employer’s money.
    • Our fund is one of the healthiest in the nation, and stands in direct contrast to the 21 other states that have borrowed $41 billion to pay for regular unemployment benefits. Borrowing money leads to higher costs for employers--and we’re confident that will not be the case here in Oregon.
      • While employers in borrowing states will see additional UI taxes and other costs, Oregon employers have actually saved $685 million in payroll taxes over the past decade through UI Trust Fund interest earnings.
      • In borrowing states, employers pay more than $1 for every dollar of benefits paid. They pay for each dollar of benefits, plus borrowing costs and often increased federal payroll taxes. In Oregon, employers are paying only 80 cents for every dollar of benefits paid -- again, this is the result of managing our solvent trust fund and the statutory formula used to fund it. Without our solid trust fund formula that let this interest accrue, we would be in a higher tax schedule next year.
  • DUA deadline is next Friday, November 27, 2020
    • The deadline to submit an application for Disaster Unemployment Assistance is next Friday, Nov. 27. Previously announced an earlier deadline, but we asked for an extension that was granted by the federal government.
    • So far we have paid about $207K to 136 Oregonians through this safety net program. And helped many other people impacted by the wildfires through the other benefit programs we administer.
    • Anyone whose employment was impacted by the recent wildfires, who is not currently eligible for regular UI and who has not yet applied for DUA should submit their application ASAP. Remember, you must be in Clackamas, Douglas, Jackson, Klamath, Lane, Lincoln, Linn, or Marion counties.
    • Visit to find the application, instructions, answer to frequently asked questions, and more.
  • Webinars
    • The next unemployment insurance webinar will cover the Extended Benefits program and the federal unemployment benefit programs coming to an end in December. The webinar begins 1 p.m. on Thursday, Nov. 19. You can register for our webinar, and see past webinars here.

Case Data

  • National Numbers (as of Friday, 11/20):
    • Confirmed Cases: 11,650,817 (up 185,095 from Thursday)
    • Deaths: 251,715 (up 2,045 from yesterday)
    • Cases in the last 7 days: 1,141,950
    • 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 62,175 total cases (confirmed and presumptive) of COVID-19.  
    • Friday we had 1306 new confirmed and presumptive cases, and 4 new deaths. 
    • Thursday: 1225 cases, 20 deaths, 127 cases in Washington County
    • Wednesday: 1099 cases, 10 deaths, 171 cases in Washington County
    • A total of 812 Oregonians have died from COVID-19.  
  • Washington County still has one of the highest case counts at 8466 confirmed cases, including 155 new cases today.  You can review on-going updates from OHA by clicking on the table below.
  • Weekly Data: November 9th-15th
    • New Cases: 6,491
    • Percentage change from previous week: +25.4%
    • Oregonians Newly Tested: 37,651
    • Percent Positive Tests: 12.5%
    • Hospitalizations: 291
    • Deaths associated with COVID-19: 31 
  • 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 Case and Testing Update: November 20th

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

Wildfire Recovery Resources:

OEM has put together this list of contacts to help speed up the process of replacing these documents:

  • Green cards: Phone (800)-375-5283; Website:
  • Medicare cards: Phone: (800)-772-1213; (TTY) (800)-325-0778 Website:
  • Military records Phone: 866-272-6272 Website:
  • Passport Phone: 877-487-2778; (TTY) 888-874-7793 Website:
  • Social Security card Phone: 800-772-1213; (TTY) 800-325-0778 Website:
  • U.S. Savings Bonds Phone: 844-284-2676 Website:
  • U.S. tax returns Phone: 800-829-1040 Website:
  • Birth, death, marriage, domestic partnership, divorce certificates Phone: 888-896-4988 Website:
  • Driver’s license, auto titles and registration, ID cards Phone: 503-945-5000 Website:
  • SNAP (Oregon Trail Card) Website:
  • State taxes (Oregon Dept. of Revenue) Phone: 503-378-4988 or 800-356-4222 TTY: All relay calls are accepted. Website:
  • Real estate and property - Contact your county government.
  • Credit cards - Contact your credit card company directly.
  • Credit reports from Equifax, Experian, TransUnion Phone: 877-322-8228 Website:
  • Insurance documents - Check with your insurance agent.
  • Medical records - Call your doctor or your medical insurance company; medical and prescription records are tracked electronically.

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.  

Legal Resources: Oregon State Bar’s Lawyer Referral Program, Oregon lawyers, through the Oregon State Bar, are partnering with FEMA and the American Red Cross to provide legal assistance on FEMA claims, contract claims, insurance claims, landlord-tenant matters and more.

The Department of Forestry’s Wildfire Response and Recovery Overview has ongoing updates about firefighting efforts, damage reports, and more.  

FEMA Updates: FEMA has provided several different Fact Sheets and resources for accessing benefits, determining eligibility and avoiding scams.

Additional Resources

Employers and Employees

Education Links

Local Government

Utilities Assistance

Food and Housing Assistance



Oregon Health Authority


Photo Array, flowers, fall foliage

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