Do What You Can Do 11/25/2020

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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


Ryan Okeven/Audubon Photography Awards

Thanksgiving greetings

I’ll be brief this week. May this Thanksgiving holiday be happy and peaceful for you...and sparsely attended. I hope that, even without many of the beloved table-mates that surround you most years for this holiday, you can readily feel gratitude that you have them in your lives, and for other everyday gifts you have and rarely notice.

I imagine that for some, gratitude is unusually hard to access this year. The ravages of COVID have taken a toll on physical and mental health, on our children’s wellbeing, on economic livelihoods, on our bonds of social connection, that are beyond full understanding. As I wrote these words, the latest grim numbers about the infection ongoing spike came to me from the Oregon Health Authority.  You don’t need to hear them. Picture a continuation of the near-vertical trend lines you’ve seen in recent editions of this newsletter and you get the idea. Add to that a Labor Day fire that ripped so savagely through our working communities and the lives of thousands of our neighbors, and this has not exactly been a banner year for gratitude.

If either of these disasters has brought you suffering or despair, my hope is that you’re aware of people nearby who care about you, and want to help you get back on top of your life. They may be family or friends whose love is obvious. And, given the stunningly generous volunteer culture of our valley, they may be people you’ve never met. In any case, you’re not forgotten, you’re not alone, and you won’t be left behind.

My responsibility is to help as much as I can through the instruments of state government. I don’t yet know what that will look like—the massive uncertainties ahead, for me as for many of you, are one of the hard parts of all this—but I’ll do my best to keep you current with this newsletter.  And I’ll always strive to respond promptly to personal concerns you send me at

Enjoy the holidays with those in your household, and check in electronically with others you love. Remember those who’ve lost much this year and stretch to support them. Remember, too, that even the fortunate people you know have been bruised in some way by 2020’s damage, and be generous with them as well. And please—continue following the ongoing public health guidance, even if something you’ve read or heard has planted a troubling seed of doubt. The guidelines aren't perfect, but they’re the soundest distillation of the experience of diverse states and countries around the world. They probably offer us the best chance of gathering safely around the 2021 Thanksgiving table with everyone and anyone we want.

I’m grateful that I get to represent you in the Oregon State Senate.


Senator Jeff Golden, Oregon Senate District 3

COVID resources

  • The Center for Disease Control has published this guidance about Thanksgiving this year.

  • If you are in need to food assistance, The Oregon Food Bank has created this page where you can search for a food pantry or pick-up site near you.

  • Food and Friends is an organization that delivers meals to seniors in need in Jackson County. They are in need of volunteers to help with this critical work. If you would like to volunteer in Jackson County, call: 541-734-9505.

  • 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

  • The Governor's wildfire website has county specific and statewide information.

  • Free 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.

FEMA information:

  • FEMA assistance applications are still open. Register here, call 800-621-3362, or visit the FEMA app.

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