A busy start to week two!

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Dear Friends and Neighbors,

Well, the second week of regular session usually brings committee meetings but today it was committee meetings and snow! I have been busy meeting remotely with staff and advocacy groups.  Tuesdays will be Floor day for now, and will require me to be in Salem as bills are still being sent to the Speaker’s desk for referral to a committee. I also have an important regular Educator Advancement Council this week.  Budget prep and reading rounds out the most current work.  Try using OLIS to stay in touch with the glow of discussion and the different bills before the Legislature.  Below are my committee assignments for the 2021 session.

2021 Session Committee Assignments 

Joint Committee On Ways and Means

Joint Committee On Transportation - Co-Chair

House Committee On Agriculture and Natural Resources

Joint Committee On the Interstate 5 Bridge - Co-Chair

Joint Committee On Ways and Means Subcommittee On Education - Co-Chair

2019-2020 Joint Emergency Board 

ODOT Work Group on Wildfire Cleanup and Contract Review


Capitol in Salem

Picture of our intern

2021 Session Interns

Meet our other amazing intern, Anushka.  Anushka is a senior in high school as well as a lifelong Oregonian. In her free time she enjoys practicing calligraphy and hiking. She is extremely excited to be a part of Representative McLain's office for the upcoming months!

Updates from Salem


Watch all Oregon State Legislature Live-Streams and Meetings HERE


Track all 2021 Session Bills HERE


Oregon House Democrats Release Transformational Agenda for 2021 Session

  • As the 81st Legislative Session begins, Oregon finds itself in the midst of several global crises. Today, Democrats in Oregon’s House of Representatives released their agenda for the 2021 Legislative Session, highlighting caucus priorities for rebuilding an Oregon where everyone can thrive. The agenda, titled “Transformation Through Crisis,” details the values that will shape Oregon House Democrats’ recovery efforts after a year of calamities, including the COVID-19 pandemic, a recession that has worsened income inequality, intensifying wildfires, and ongoing institutional and structural racism. 
  • The agenda covers a variety of issue areas, including equitable economic recovery, education, access to healthcare, housing, climate change, and addressing the racial disparities threaded through all policy areas, including policing and criminal justice. 
  • Like most aspects of life since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, the 2021 legislative session will look different than previous sessions. Committees will be meeting remotely to prevent the spread of the virus, and Oregonians will have greater opportunities to testify on legislation through the use of phone and video technology, eliminating the need to take a day off work, find childcare, and drive to Salem to testify on a bill. 

The Oregon House Democrats’ agenda for 2021 can be found here


Big policies take backseat as lawmakers work to address Oregon’s crises

*This is a summary of an Oregon Public Broadcasting story, which can be found here.

Population data and redistricting: Every 10 years, the Legislature is tasked with turning newly collected data from the U.S. Census into brand new maps sketching out the districts Oregon’s 95 state and congressional lawmakers will represent. It’s their task to design districts within each chamber that contain roughly the same amount of people, among other requirements.

With Oregon expected to receive an additional member of Congress this year, bringing the state’s tally to six, things are likely to get especially interesting — and contentious.

Redistricting holds major importance for the next decade of politics in the state. Minute decisions about boundary lines help dictate which political party holds power, but can also impact sitting lawmakers’ path to reelection.

That’s part of the reason redistricting has historically been extremely contentious in Oregon. Lawmakers have rarely been able to pass their own set of district maps into law — either because of disagreements between the two chambers, a governor’s veto or court challenges. That means redistricting has often fallen to the Oregon Secretary of State, who is responsible for drafting maps if the Legislature fails.

The Legislature must await the arrival of census data before it can get to the bulk of its work, meaning the process likely won’t begin in earnest until at least April, and perhaps well later. House and Senate committees plan to hold a set of public hearings with communities around the state to solicit input on new districts, though it’s not entirely clear how those will work under existing COVID-19 restrictions.

Campaign finance limits - Another voter-approved measure is likely to get its share of attention this year: Measure 107, which ensured that the state’s Constitution has language specifically allowing campaign finance limits.  Varying court decisions over the years have made campaign finance limits something of a moving target, and Oregon is currently one of five with no limits on campaign contributions.

Now, lawmakers’ ability to set those limits is without question. Far less certain is whether they will be able to find agreement.  Like redistricting, campaign finance limits are a touchy subject because they can impact how much firepower lawmakers have to conduct robust campaigns. Depending on their details, new rules could effectively create a system that favors one party over the other. (For instance, a policy allowing labor unions to contribute more than business interests could be a net positive for Democrats.)

In 2019, the House passed a bill that would have set varying limits on donations to Senate, House and statewide races. That proposal didn’t have support in the Senate however, and died. Advocates of campaign finance limits say 2021 could end in a similar result.

If lawmakers cannot converge on a new framework, campaign finance activists have promised to put forward strong rules before voters in 2022. Recent elections — both in the Portland area and statewide — suggest voters are ready to be rid of Oregon’s little regulated campaign finance system.

Bracing for budget cuts - One of the only tasks lawmakers are required to accomplish in the session is passing a new two year budget to plot out state spending from July 2021 through June 2023.

That task isn’t likely to be as daunting as many initially feared when the COVID-19 pandemic took hold. In fact, state economists’ most recent forecasts for state income tax and lottery revenues suggest they are coming in higher than expected, and may grow in the coming biennium.

Those gains, however, aren’t expected to cover the rising costs of public services. At the same time, lawmakers have tapped into surplus funds the state had on hand as they’ve sought to assist people impacted by the pandemic, meaning they’ll have less money to start with.  The combination of factors has many bracing for cuts.

Vaccine Updates

5 Things to know about COVID


State leaders discuss ‘tough calls’ on vaccination sequencing

  • Governor Kate Brown held a news conference recently to update Oregonians on the status of COVID-19 vaccinations in Oregon, particularly as they relate to seniors and educators. The Governor was joined by Oregon Health Authority (OHA) Public Health Director Rachael Banks. 
  • Director Banks spoke of Oregon’s plan to vaccinate people who work in childcare, early learning or K-12 school settings starting Jan. 25. “As long as supplies are scarce, we’ll face really tough calls on who to immunize next. There are good reasons to prioritize educators and good reasons to prioritize seniors.” 
  • Director Banks emphasized that now is the time to start vaccinating educators to give schools a chance at reopening this school year with a vaccinated staff. They pointed out that if Oregon starts vaccinating seniors first, there may not be enough supply for educators this school year.  
  • The press conference included testimony supporting the vaccination of educators from 2021 Oregon Teacher of the Year Nicole Butler-Hooton (Irving Elementary) and Regional Teacher of the Year Mayra Pelayo (Aiken Elementary). South Medford High School Student—and member of the Governor's Healthy Schools Reopening Council— Yosalin Arenas Alvarez who spoke of her experience as a high school senior.   
  • Ms. Arenas spoke of students’ experiences, “Some of us are frustrated, tired and lack motivation to open up our computers” and spoke of the hardship students face such as, taking on extra work to support their families, experiencing families, experiencing houselessness and losing loved ones. 
  • “Over this past year,” Ms. Arenas said, “I have been astonished to hear some of my peers come to me and say, ‘I just can’t do it anymore. I just can’t.’ I keep telling them, ‘One more year.’ We have one more year. Yet some days I think that one year feels longer than all three years of high school combined.” 


Categories for vaccination


New quarantine guidelines for fully immunized people

  • You may wonder whether you still need to quarantine when you have been exposed to COVID-19 if you have received your vaccination. OHA has updated its COVID-19 Investigative Guidelines to address this question.
  • If you have been fully vaccinated with the COVID-19 vaccine and it's been at least 14 days since your final dose, you are no longer required to quarantine if you have had close contact with someone with COVID-19. 
  • If you’re fully immunized, you should still monitor yourself for symptoms of COVID-19 during the 14 days after exposure, and if symptoms develop, you should isolate and seek testing. 
  • People who have been fully vaccinated should continue to follow measures to protect themselves and others, including maintaining six feet of physical distance, avoiding crowds, washing hands often and wearing a mask. 


Teachers are eligible for the vaccine


What will it take to vaccinate Oregon?

*This is a summary of an Oregon Public Broadcasting story.  The full story is here.

  • This week, Kaiser Permanente launched a COVID-19 vaccination clinic at the Oregon Convention Center in partnership with three other large health systems: Providence, Legacy Health and OHSU.
  • The convention center clinic will be by appointment only and will start out vaccinating around 2,000 people a day. As more doses become available, Kaiser and its partners say the site should have the capacity to vaccinate up to 7,500 people daily.
  • According to Oregon Public Broadcasting, Oregon needs the following things to keep up with our vaccination goals:
    • More vaccines - Each week, Oregon is receiving roughly 100,000 vaccines total, including first and second doses of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine and the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine. If that sounds like a lot, consider that there are roughly 3.3 million adults in Oregon, and each needs two doses.
    • An army of volunteers - Oregon needs more trained vaccinators and more staff to support them. Before a person can get vaccinated, they may need help figuring out where to park. They need to sign a consent form and undergo screening for factors that could complicate vaccination. After receiving the shot, patients must be observed for 15 to 30 minutes in a clinical setting in case of an allergic reaction.
    • Vaccines at the pharmacy - Pharmacies are currently playing a key role in getting the vaccine to residents in long-term care and memory care, by bringing them directly into facilities.  And the state and the CDC have the potential to activate a much more extensive pharmacy partnership that could deliver the vaccine directly to retail pharmacies across the state -- potentially allowing eligible members of the public to get vaccinated at their local pharmacy for free.
    • A plan for essential workers - COVID-19 hasn’t impacted all Oregonians equally. Case rates are more than twice as high for Black and Native American Oregonians as for whites. For Pacific Islanders and Latinos, the disparity is even greater: they are more than three times as likely to get COVID-19 than a white Oregonian.  National research has found that a key reason for these disparities is that specific racial and ethnic communities are over-represented in low-wage jobs that cannot be done remotely, and they’re more likely to be exposed to the virus at work.
    • More, and better, public health information - the state needs a more aggressive public health messaging campaign to reassure people and answer their questions about the vaccine.


Oregon statewide vaccination trends

COVID Updates

  • National Numbers: 
    • Confirmed Cases: 25,018,520 (up 142,259 from yesterday)
    • Deaths: 417,936 (up 1,926 from yesterday)
    • These national numbers come from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.  You can view their national and state by state data here.
Map of the United States


  • Oregon Status Report:  Oregon now has 138,587 total cases (confirmed and presumptive) of COVID-19. 
    • Today we have 419 new confirmed and presumptive cases, and 7 new deaths. 
    • A total of 1,892 Oregonians have died from COVID-19.
    • (previous daily case updates from OHA here)
  • Washington County still has one of the highest case counts at 19,330 confirmed cases, including 180 deaths.  You can review on-going updates from OHA by clicking on the table below. 
  • 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. 


Oregon covid infection rates


COVID-19 cases, deaths continue to trend down

  • The number of newly reported COVID-19 cases and deaths continued trending down Sunday, Jan. 24, as state health officials also reported progress in administering vaccinations for the virus.
  • The Oregon Health Authority reported 582 more cases and three additional deaths Sunday. That compares to 775 cases and 13 deaths reported on Saturday, Jan. 23.
  • In its most recent weekly report, the OHA reported new daily cases dropped 4% during the week of Monday, Jan. 11, through Sunday, Jan. 17, from the previous week.
  • The OHA also reported that a cumulative total of 300,662 first and second doses of COVID-19 vaccines had been administered by Sunday. That is 61% of the 492,450 doses of vaccine that have been delivered to sites across Oregon.


Getting a good night’s sleep in the pandemic

The pandemic has changed our routines and increased our stress and anxiety. It has many of us losing sleep. Perhaps you lie awake worrying about keeping yourself and loved ones safe as COVID-19 spreads. Or maybe anxiety about your job, supervising online school, or feeling isolated is stopping you from sleeping. These steps may help you sleep better:  

  • Make a schedule: Set a fixed time to wake up and go to bed every day.   
  • Go outside: If you can, spend some time in natural light. A short walk in the morning can help regulate your body clock.   
  • Stay active: Exercise can reduce stress.   
  • Go easy with alcohol and caffeine: They can disturb sleep.   
  • Try a meditation app: Meditation lowers stress and can improve sleep.  
  • Wind down before turning off the lights: Try not to use your mobile phone, tablet or computer for an hour before bed. It’s also best not to eat or exercise just before turning off the lights.  


Around the region

snow falling


Washington County libraries eliminate overdue fines 

  • Washington County libraries have eliminated overdue fines on all library materials. Patrons whose accounts have been suspended because of overdue fines, roughly 12,000, have had their access restored.
  • The policy, proposed by the Washington County Cooperative Library Services, WCCLS, executive board, was approved by the Washington County Board of Commissioners on Dec. 15, 2020 for implementation on Jan. 26, 2021.
  • Studies have shown that overdue fines are most likely to restrict access for communities of color and/or those with lower incomes. Washington County libraries’ commitment to equity and inclusion motivated this change.
  • Board of Commissioners’ Chair Kathryn Harrington says, “We enthusiastically endorse our libraries’ move to eliminate barriers and promote equity. We are proud of our excellent library system and encourage all Washington County residents to make use of this valuable resource. This is a wonderful way to start the new year.”
  • Lisa Tattersall, manager of WCCLS, adds, “Libraries are for everyone. This is a landmark step in our mission to eliminate patrons’ barriers wherever we can – and this will remove the barrier for thousands of them. We want our patrons back.”
  • The policy comes at a time when patrons’ demand for e-books and audiobooks hit a record 2.1 million checkouts in 2020, in part due to the pandemic restricting access to library buildings and physical books.
  • Digital materials are an ever-increasing percentage of WCCLS’ collection, and do not incur fines. WCCLS has reallocated resources throughout 2020 to meet patrons’ explosive demand for digital materials.
  • Tattersall, remarking on the dramatic shift to e-books and audiobooks, says, “We’re thrilled with all the work our libraries have done to keep our patrons in reading material despite the pandemic.”


No more overdue library fines

Gala for Cultural

RSVP for the Gala de Cultura 

Everyone is invited to this year’s virtual Gala de Cultura on Friday, March 5 at 7pm. We’re coming together safely online for our biggest event of the year to showcase nuestra fuerza and dream of what’s possible as we rebuild the future we envision here in Washington County. .                  RSVP here

Wildfire Recovery Updates


Washington County announced CHIP grant applications are open

  • 2021-2022 CHIP Grant: The CHIP grant application for our next grant cycle is now open! Washington County is seeking proposals for projects that address community health improvement priorities and increase organizational capacity for using a racial equity lens and trauma informed approaches to support community resilience and impact health equity: https://www.co.washington.or.us/HHS/grants.cfm


Survey for Community Feedback on the COVID-19 Vaccine 

  • Washington County Public Health Division is currently planning for distribution of the COVID-19 vaccine. In an effort to create communications that are responsive to the communities of our county and share information that will support people in having access to the vaccine, we would like to solicit input from our community partners regarding any questions or concerns that community members have shared about the vaccine. Please assist us in planning for successful and equitable vaccine distribution by completing this very brief survey (just three questions):



Mixed bag in western WashCo's 2019-20 graduation rates

*This is a reprint of an article in the Forest Grove News-Times.  The article can be found here.

  • Despite difficult times stemming from the ongoing pandemic, local school districts managed to avoid any significant decline in overall high school graduation rates spanning the 2019-20 school year.
  • Forest Grove, Banks and Gaston all exceeded the state average of 82.63%, but while Banks and Gaston finished above 90%, Forest Grove High School remains well below, despite getting above the 2019-20 state mark for the first time in the last six years.
  • Forest Grove finished with a rate of 83.3% using a four-year cohort, meaning the students who started four years ago. The mark was an increase of 2.51 percentage points over the 2018-19 school year and continued a six-year trend that's seen the district's high school improve by 12.2 points, going from 71.3% in 2014-15 to this past year's mark of 83.3%.
  • Forest Grove managed to improve in a number of relevant demographics, including with economically disadvantaged students, who graduated at a rate of 77.7%, an improvement of 7.1 points over the last four years; and students with disabilities, whose on-time graduation rate increased by 13.73 points over 2018-19, graduating 71.79% this past year — a nearly 30-point increase since the 2014-15 school year.
  • The Forest Grove School District as a whole, including students not enrolled at Forest Grove High School, improved but fell just short of the statewide rate, with 82.43% graduating on time in 2019-20. In 2018-19, it was 80.66%.
  • While still among the state's strongest by on-time graduation rate, Banks High School showed a slight decrease over the 2018-19 number, dropping from 96.6% to 95.6% in 2019-20. Despite roughly 1-point drops in each of the last three years, the school's graduation rate is nearly 5 points higher than it was in 2014-15.
  • Gaston recorded a graduation rate of 91.11% for 2019-20, a decrease of 5.04 points from the previous year. Yet, despite the decrease the school continues to outdo the state average, and is 10.16 points ahead of 2017-18, 5.69 points ahead of 2016-17, and a whopping 23.67 points higher than the 2014-15 school year.
  • The rural Washington County school also improved in the category of economically disadvantaged grads, improving from 79.5% in 2018-19 to 92% this past year. Those numbers are up from 53.33% in 2014-15.

Wildfire Recovery

Wildfire Recovery Committee to meet

  • The committee will hold two virtual public hearings in mid-February to hear directly from wildfire survivors in communities throughout Oregon about their post-fire experiences and needs related to shelter, clean-up, and rebuilding. These stories will help the committee identify where to focus its efforts this legislative session.

Testimony will be organized by each region of the state affected by the 2020 Labor Day wildfires.

  • Monday, February 15th (5:30 – 8:30 pm): Canyon/Valley, Metro, Coast Regions
  • Wednesday, February 17th (5:30 – 8:30 pm): Southern Region


Tesla helps bring power and connectivity to Detroit

  • Following the massive Oregon wildfires this fall, Tesla worked with its local contacts, NGOs and Certified Installers to deploy a Tesla Mobile Powerwall system in Detroit, where the electrical infrastructure and most of the buildings were destroyed by fire.
  • Since November, the Tesla system has been providing power to a temporary classroom for ~40 kids from the surrounding area.  In addition to powering the HVAC system (and providing heat throughout the winter) the Tesla Powerwall system is also powering one of SpaceX’s Starlink internet receivers, providing high speed connectivity to the classroom in an area where cell connectivity can still be spotty.  


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: www.uscis.gov
  • Medicare cards: Phone: (800)-772-1213; (TTY) (800)-325-0778 Website: www.medicare.gov
  • Military records Phone: 866-272-6272 Website: www.archives.gov/contact/
  • Passport Phone: 877-487-2778; (TTY) 888-874-7793 Website: travel.state.gov
  • Social Security card Phone: 800-772-1213; (TTY) 800-325-0778 Website: www.ssa.gov
  • U.S. Savings Bonds Phone: 844-284-2676 Website: www.treasurydirect.gov
  • U.S. tax returns Phone: 800-829-1040 Website: www.irs.gov
  • Birth, death, marriage, domestic partnership, divorce certificates Phone: 888-896-4988 Website: www.oregon.gov/oha/PH/Birthdeathcertificates
  • Driver’s license, auto titles and registration, ID cards Phone: 503-945-5000 Website: www.oregon.gov/odot
  • SNAP (Oregon Trail Card) Website: www.oregon.gov/DHS/Assistance/Food-Benefits
  • State taxes (Oregon Dept. of Revenue) Phone: 503-378-4988 or 800-356-4222 TTY: All relay calls are accepted. Website: www.oregon.gov/dor
  • 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: www.annualcreditreport.com
  • 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.

Unemployment Updates

Pandemic Unemployment Assistance Updates 

  • The department hopes to begin issuing the rest of PUA payments by Feb. 5. As a reminder, these benefits will be paid retroactively so continue to file your weekly claims.
  • 50 week maximum - The U.S. Dept. of Labor has informed us that claimants can only receive a maximum of 50 weeks of PUA benefits. PUA is a weeks-based program, so even if you have funds remaining on your claim, you can only receive PUA benefits for 50 weeks.
  • They have added a new step in the PUA weekly claim process that allows you to review your claim before submitting it. 
    • IMPORTANT: Make sure to click ‘Submit’ when you are done reviewing. If you do not need to review your claim, you still need to click ‘Submit’ when you reach the review page. 
  • New PUA verification requirements - The CAA requires that you send us additional information to verify your income by a certain date, in order to continue receiving benefits. 
    • If you filed your PUA claim on or before Jan. 3, 2021, you need to show work between Jan. 1, 2019 and the effective date of your claim, which is the first day you became unemployed.
    • If your claim was filed after Jan. 3, 2021, you need to show work between Jan. 1, 2020 and the effective date of your claim, which is the first day you became unemployed.
  • PUA claimants moved to PEUC - If you had exhausted your PEUC and Extended Benefits (EB) and were receiving PUA, you will be moved back to PEUC for the 11-week extension. Your weekly benefit amount may be lower, but this will not create an overpayment for the weeks you were on PUA.
  • Webinar - The next unemployment insurance webinar will be conducted in Spanish, and we’ll share the latest information we’ve received on the CAA. Join us Thursday, Jan. 28 at 1 p.m. Register for our upcoming webinars, and watch recordings of previous webinars, by visiting unemployment.oregon.gov/webinars
  • Nuestro próximo seminario web en español será el jueves 28 de enero a la 1 p.m., donde compartiremos actualizaciones sobre la Ley de Asistencia Continua. Registrarse aquí.

Additional Resources

Employers and Employees

Education Links

Hillsboro School District (en inglés y español) 

Forest Grove School District (en inglés y español) 

Oregon Department of Education

COVID-19 Resources for Oregon Higher Education Partners

Local Government

City of Hillsboro (en inglés, español y más idiomas) 

City of Cornelius (en inglés, español y más idiomas)

City of Forest Grove (Personal que habla español disponible en este número: (503) 992-3221)

Washington County

Utilities Assistance

Portland General Electric (en inglés y español) 

NW Natural

City of Hillsboro Utility Billing 




City of Forest Grove

Food and Housing Assistance

Community Action.org

Oregon Food Bank

Meals on Wheels



Oregon Health Authority


Mt. Hood


Yours truly,

Representative Susan McLain

Representative Susan McLain
House District 29

email: Rep.SusanMcLain@oregonlegislature.gov I phone: 503-986-1429
address: 900 Court St NE, H-376, Salem, OR 97301
website: http://www.oregonlegislature.gov/mclain