Oregon receives grant for national Suicide Prevention Line

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Dear Friends and Neighbors,

Today is an Education Budget Briefing and Agriculture and Natural Resources work day here at the Capitol. The Transportation Committee also met this morning and heard an Airport systems update presented by Director Betty Stansbury.

Committee Assignments for 2021

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

Joint Transportation Committee meeting

*Representative McLain and Senator Beyer chairing the Joint Committee on Transportation.


Watch all Oregon State Legislature Live-Streams and Meetings HERE


Track all 2021 Session Bills HERE

Updates from Salem

Opinion: Despite COVID restrictions, Oregon Legislature is open for business

By Tina Kotek and Peter Courtney

*This is an Opinion piece that was published in the Oregonian. You can find it here

*Kotek, D-Portland, is speaker of the Oregon House of Representatives. Courtney, D-Salem, is president of the Oregon Senate.

Times have been more than tough for our state. Through pandemic, wildfires and unemployment, we have been forced to govern in the moment. This same urgency will define the 2021 legislative session.

Your Legislature is open for business. To prevent the spread of COVID-19, entry to the Capitol is currently limited to authorized personnel. Although we cannot take in-person public testimony during the pandemic, we are turning to technology to ensure transparency and public participation while prioritizing public health. Oregonians will be able to testify at every public hearing remotely, without having to worry about taking a day off work and driving to Salem.

Visit www.oregonlegislature.gov to find out more. Don’t have regular access to the internet? Have a different question? Call 1-800-332-2313 for assistance.

  • You can sign-up to give testimony on a bill before its public hearing begins. You can testify remotely through a live video stream or by phone.

  • Submit written testimony electronically through the legislative website. You can also continue to submit your feedback by mail.

  • Watch committee meetings and floor sessions live via the legislative website (or watch recordings when it’s more convenient). For those without internet access, viewing stations will be set up outside the Capitol.

Every state has been grappling with how to operate a legislative session during this pandemic. We have the benefit of learning from the mistakes and best practices of other states in order to avoid the outbreaks that have taken place in other capitols. Protecting the health of the public, staff and legislators is a bipartisan concern.

Additionally, one of our priorities has been to establish and fund language translation services. We are hiring two full-time positions, a language access coordinator and a staff interpreter to ensure consistent access to the legislative process for non-English speakers. This is just the start of a funded commitment to strengthen equal access to the legislative process.

We will continue to regularly reevaluate the Capitol’s public health plan in a bipartisan fashion and in consultation with health officials. If conditions improve, public entry to the Capitol will be expanded in accordance with public health protocols.

We ask for your patience, understanding and support. We have important work to do. It is critical that the Legislature hears as much as possible from Oregonians in every community. Call or email your legislators about issues that matter to you. Testify on bills that you support or oppose. We hope you will participate in the Legislature and be part of the process to solve problems for Oregonians.


Oregon Health Authority awarded 988 State Planning Grant

  • The Oregon Health Authority has received a planning grant to prepare Oregon for the launch of 988, a National Suicide Prevention emergency number that will go live on July 16, 2022, nationwide. The $135,000 grant will help Oregon with resources, training, technical assistance, and infrastructure needs to allow access to the new number by that date. The grant requires Oregon to begin its planning on Feb. 1, 2021.
  • Oregon received the grant on Jan. 25, 2021, through Vibrant Emotional Health, the nonprofit that administers the National Suicide Prevention hotline. Vibrant has awarded grants to 49 states and territories. 
  • The new 988 number will become the national three-digit dialing code for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, replacing the current phone number of 1-800-273-TALK (8255). Anyone needing support should continue to call 1-800-273-TALK (8255) until the number is active in July 2022.
  • To ensure that the implementation plan will allow Oregon to be ready for the nationwide July 16, 2022 launch, the grant requires OHA to:

Start planning for the 988 line on Feb. 1, 2021, and end on Sep.1, 2021.

By Dec. 30, 2021, submit a final plan to both Vibrant and the federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), the branch of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services that oversees and funds the National Suicide Hotline.

  • OHA will collaborate with the Governor’s Office, hospitals, Coordinated Care Organizations, counties, emergency services, state leadership, suicide prevention experts, people with lived experience, and others to create the plan. The collaboration will ensure Oregon meets the operational, clinical, and performance standards in a way that mirrors the response capability currently in place for people calling 911. 
  • 988 call centers must be members of the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. More information about Lifeline members are here: https://suicidepreventionlifeline.org/our-crisis-centers/


Representative McLain at the Capitol

Capitol Day

Vaccine Updates

Vaccine 101: What’s an mRNA vaccine?

  • The Pfizer and Moderna vaccines are both classified as “Messenger RNA (mRNA) vaccines,” but what does that mean? While this might be a new term for many, researchers have been studying and working with mRNA vaccine technology for decades. The process for making these vaccines can be standardized and produced at scale, making development faster than for a vaccine using live virus.
  • While mRNA vaccines seem to cause more short-term side effects than other vaccines, these effects don’t appear to be long-lasting. Unlike other vaccines, which will place a weakened germ inside our bodies to fight off infectious disease, mRNA vaccines teach our cells how to make a protein that triggers an immune response in our bodies. The COVID-19 vaccines from Moderna and Pfizer do not use the live vaccine that causes COVID-19. Just like every other vaccine available in the United States though, the mRNA vaccines have been rigorously tested for safety and effectiveness by the FDA. The clinical trials included large numbers of people from Black/African American, Hispanic/Latino and other communities of color that are systemically affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • To learn more about the mRNA vaccines, visit the CDC’s Understanding mRNA COVID-19 Vaccines webpage or watch the video below by clicking on the image:
Link to video about Covid Vaccine

Link to a video about how vaccines are made


Remember those great 'School House Rocks' videos?  Well, Johns Hopkins University has made one about how a vaccine is created.  It's educational, fun, and perfect for all ages.

Vaccine Advisory Committee makes final recommendations

Yesterday, Oregon’s 27-member COVID-19 Vaccine Advisory Committee (VAC) met for its fourth and final official meeting. They recommended four groups move forward concurrently once Oregon has vaccinated a critical mass of seniors. Those groups would be:

  • Adults 16-64 with underlying health conditions
  • Front-line workers (to be defined)
  • Adults and youth in custody 16 years and older
  • People living in low income and congregate senior housing

People who live in multi-generational households would be next in line behind these groups, followed by the general population. 

As a next step, OHA staff will review the operational and legal dimensions of the recommendations before they are referred to Governor Kate Brown. The committee has an optional meeting on Feb. 2 to discuss implementation issues.

Five things to know about COVID this week.

Daily COVID Updates

National Numbers

    • Confirmed Cases: 26,034,475 (up 112,772 from yesterday)
    • Deaths: 439,955 (up 1,920 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 United States and Covid Rates

Oregon Status Report: 

  • Oregon now has 138,587 total cases (confirmed and presumptive) of COVID-19. 
    • Today we have 1,668 new confirmed and presumptive cases, and 20 new deaths. 
    • A total of 1,980 Oregonians have died from COVID-19.

         (previous daily case updates from OHA here)

  • Washington County still has one of the highest case counts at 19,895 confirmed cases, including 195 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. 


Daily COVID Numbers in Oregon

Death statistics in Oregon


OHA releases new COVID-19 forecast

  • The Oregon Health Authority held a media briefing on Friday to discuss the COVID-19 vaccine and the new modeling.  The latest COVID-19 model shows a decrease in daily cases. The new report estimates that, as of Jan. 13, our statewide reproductive rate was 0.81. That means that each case of COVID-19 is being spread to less than one other person.
  • According to the newest forecast, if we continue on our present course of wearing masks, keeping physical distance and restricting our gathering sizes, daily COVID-19 cases will decline to an average of 420 per day, and COVID-19 related hospitalizations will decrease by 13 per day.
  • A 30% increase in transmission would translate to roughly 720 daily cases and 24 new hospitalizations a day, as well as 240 cases per 100,000 people by mid-February.
  • The new modeling does not factor in the presence of the UK variant strain of COVID-19 in Oregon.


Need some emotional support?

  • Many of us are feeling more stressed, anxious or down than usual. But it can be hard to know if we should seek treatment for these feelings, or whether we can take actions to help ourselves feel better.
  • This chart from the National Institute of Mental Health can help you decide whether your symptoms are mild or severe and how much they are interfering with your daily life.
  • The chart offers tips for self-care activities for people experiencing mild symptoms and resources for people seeking treatment.
  • In addition, if you want someone to talk to, the David Romprey Oregon Warmline is available every day from 9 a.m. to 11 p.m. at 1-800-698-2392. 

You can also call the Safe + Strong Helpline at 800-923-4357 (800-923-HELP). The line offers free, 24-7 emotional support and resource referral to anyone who needs it – not only those experiencing a mental health crisis. More resources are available on the Safe + Strong mental and emotional health page.


Mental Health Categories


Oregon counties have new outdoor dining guidance

Outdoor dining guidance is now updated for Oregon counties. As of Friday, Jan. 29, restaurants, bars, distilleries and tasting rooms in all Oregon counties may allow the following:

  • Outdoor structures that have a temporary or fixed cover, like an awning or roof, as long as there is at least 50% of the square footage of its sides open for airflow. The enclosed sides may not be adjacent (next to) each other.

See the illustration below for an example of a structure that meets the outdoor dining requirements. Read the full guidance.


Be super safe when you watch the Super Bowl this year

Even though we don’t have a professional football team, we know many Oregonians are excited about the upcoming Super Bowl. While the occasion usually calls for an all-you-can-eat buffet of snacks and an assortment of friends, COVID-19 continues to spread in Oregon and across the country. That’s why the safest way to enjoy the game this weekend will be at home with the people you live with.

Here are some low-risk ways to celebrate the Super Bowl: 

  • Host a virtual watch party with loved ones and friends. Have everyone tune in on the same broadcast and celebrate each touchdown (or lack thereof) in virtual unison.
  • Plan Super Bowl festivities with those you live with. 

If you have a large enough outside area, such as a covered porch or deck where members of your bubble can maintain six feet of distance, you can consider hosting a small outdoor gathering. If you do so, it’s important that you and your guests wear face coverings at all times, maintain six feet of physical distance from each other, wash your hands regularly, avoid crowded, poorly ventilated indoor spaces and prepare separate food and drinks for separate households.

If you choose to go this route, be sure to also keep the updated Oregon County Risk Levels in mind.

  • Extreme: Limit outdoor gatherings to six people, with no more than one additional household.
  • High: Limit outdoor gatherings to eight people, with no more than one additional household.
  • Moderate: Limit outdoor gatherings to no more than 10 people, with no more than one additional household.
  • Lower: Limit outdoor gatherings to no more than 12 people, with no more than three additional households.
How to be safe watching the Super Bowl during COVID.


Facebook Live Q and A: What will school look like this spring?

We know parents have many questions about what school might look like this spring. Oregon Health Authority (OHA) is hosting a Facebook Live event on Wednesday, Feb. 3 at 1:30 p.m. Oregon Department of Education Director Colt Gill and OHA Deputy State Health Officer and Epidemiologist, Dr. Thomas Jeanne will answer your school-related questions. Join in English or Spanish.


Zoom meeting at the Capitol

Busy day of meetings at the Capitol

Around the Region

February is African American History Month

February is federally observed as African American History Month. Visit the federal African American History Month website for exhibits and collections, teacher resources, events, and more. The official theme of Black History Month 2021 is The Black Family: Representation, Identity, and Diversity.  Visit the Oregon Secretary of State’s page to learn more about black individuals and families in Oregon.


Winter Weather Shelter Now Open at the Hillsboro Civic Center

The City of Hillsboro has partnered with Washington County, Community Action, and Project Homeless Connect to provide a winter shelter at the Hillsboro Civic Center. The shelter will operate through March 15, 2021, in the space previously occupied by the Washington County Museum.

  • When will the winter shelter operate?: The shelter began operations on Sunday, January 31, 2021, and will continue through the end of the season on March 15, 2021. The shelter is operational 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

  • Where is the shelter located? The shelter is located in the Civic Center space previously occupied by the Washington County Museum above Outdoors In and the former Starbucks space. Access to the shelter is provided through the entrance adjacent to Outdoors In.

  • How many people can stay in the shelter? Up to 30 people maximum.

  • Who is eligible to stay in the shelter? Adults who are 18 years and older are eligible. The shelter does not accept pets.

  • Are COVID-19 safety measures being taken? Yes. The shelter will help to reduce the risk of exposure among vulnerable populations who are unhoused, including those who are over 55 and/or have underlying health conditions. Guests will sleep and eat while maintaining a distance of at least 12 feet apart. All sanitation, janitorial, and safety protocols will be followed in accordance with Oregon Health Authority guidance.

  • Who is coordinating the care on site – and what services are offered? In partnership with the City of Hillsboro, Washington County, and Community Action, the team from Project Homeless Connect is the lead in providing coordinating care services.

The temporary use of existing space for the emergency shelter will allow for sleeping, meals, water, and restrooms. Mats, sheets, and blankets will be provided – and staff will perform wellness checks. Staffing will include a shelter coordinator, a shelter host in the day and evening, security staff, and a meal coordinator.

The hours for the Civic Center’s outside restrooms will remain the same: 6 am to 9 pm, Monday through Friday (closed on weekends and holidays). The lights inside the shelter will be turned off between 10 pm and 6 am, with limited access for guests who need to go outside for fresh air for their mental health care.

  • How does someone register to access this shelter? Individuals can be placed onto the list (or waitlist) for shelter care by completing the Washington County Winter Shelter Registration web form. Additionally, the Project Homeless Connect Day Center Outreach Team can also support individuals in completing the process of registration.

  • Is this a secured environment for community members? The shelter will operate 24 hours a day, 7 days a week with staff and security on site. Access to the shelter is not based on an individual’s past, but staff and security are aware of any prior criminal history or outstanding warrant(s) for shelter guests.

In addition, the Hillsboro Police Department’s Crisis Intervention Team is experienced in working with community members experiencing homelessness and will be present on site at various times. The Hillsboro Police Department will also increase patrols in the Downtown area during this time.

  • Who do I call if I have any questions or concerns? Please share any questions or concerns with Shelter Manager Candace Dunn at 503-825-8970. You can also email Candace at Candace@phcwc.org or email Kim Marshall at Kim@phcwc.orgIn addition, the Hillsboro Chamber of Commerce's Homelessness Tool Kit can be helpful for business owners with concerns.

  • What shelter options are available after March 15? Washington County hosts other shelter hubs. More information is available from the Washington County website and through community partners.


Veterans set to be honored in Forest Grove - but how?

A local group is seeking input from the community on how to best honor veterans

*This is a summary of an article that appeared in the Forest Grove News-Times and can be accessed here

  • Of Forest Grove's nearly 25,000 residents, almost 2,000 are military veterans.  Considering that, longtime Grover and U.S. Army veteran Michael Perrault thinks it is about time the city had a place to commemorate those who have served their country.
  • Perrault — who formerly served on Forest Grove's Committee for Community Involvement — has been working with City Councilors Tim Rippe and Kristy Kottkey on the idea. The question now is: what to do and where to do it?
  • To answer those questions, Perrault and the councilors have put together a survey to gather input from community members as to what they may want to do.  Perrault's survey suggests ideas for Forest Grove that include a dedicated park, a public memorial, community service opportunities, efforts to connect veterans to services, and/or organized events such as parades, concerts or picnics.
  • "We talked about not wanting it to be a 'memorial,' because that's just honoring the dead, and we want it to be more than that," Perrault said. "But it's not really about what we want, it's about what everyone in this community wants. So hopefully, if we get the ideas, then people won't feel like it's being forced down their throats."

If you live in Forest Grove and are interested in participating in the survey, you can find the English version at tinyurl.com/FGvetssurvey or the Spanish version at tinyurl.com/Spanish-Version-Vets-Survey.

Wildfire Recovery

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.

Employment Department Updates

Oregon will cut certain extended jobless benefits due to lower unemployment rates

*This is a summary of an article that appeared on OregonLive.com here.

  • Oregonians who are out of work will receive fewer weeks of extended jobless benefits starting next month due to the state’s unemployment rate.
  • The state has been offering jobless Oregonians who exhaust their regular unemployment benefits an extra 13 weeks of extended benefits because the state’s unemployment rate has been above 6.5% over the preceding three-month periods.
  • Although Oregon’s unemployment rate climbed to 6.4% in December, rising for the first time since April, the rate has still been below 6.5% for the last three months. That prompted the federal government to inform Oregon officials they could no longer offer the extended benefits. The change will go into effect Feb. 20.
  • If Oregon’s unemployment rate rises to 6.5% or higher, the state will be able to offer the extended benefit program again.
  • However, jobless Oregonians who have exhausted their regular unemployment benefits will still be able to receive extended benefits for the time being through a separate pandemic relief program, funded by the federal government.
  • Once the current extended benefits programs expires on Feb. 20, claimants will be automatically transferred to the Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation program for an additional 11 weeks.
  • The Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation program will expire March 14. Those who still have money left on their claim at that point will continue receiving benefits through April 10, according to the employment department.

Additional Resources

Employers and Employees

Education Links

Local Government

Utilities Assistance

Food and Housing Assistance



Oregon Health Authority


View of the Capitol

Enjoying the view from my office as I attend zoom meetings.

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