A Good Start to a New Month!

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Hello Friends,

Bills and Legislation have started the process to work toward a vote on the House Floor. If it gets a positive vote in committees it will be read, discussed, and voted on by all 60 Representatives. If it gets a majority vote it will go to the Senate for a mirrored process. We will highlight four bills today. These bills are ones that I have introduced or worked on and support and will vote in favor in the 2021 Session.

Photo of Rep's calico cat on the porch and photo of Rep McLain in a purple mask on porch on a sunny, green day

Looking forward to some time outside this week-end! Looks like it may be good weather for February.

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

Watch all Oregon State Legislature Live-Streams and Meetings HERE


Track all 2021 Session Bills HERE

2021 Session: Top 4 Bills

Household hazardous waste (HHW) can pose risks to the environment and public health during use, storage, or disposal.  Specific ways that this can occur, along with some remedies for prevention of these risks, include:

  • Improper use of hazardous products. Use contrary to label directions or applicable laws and regulations: improper quantities, improper application methods, use for the wrong purpose, etc. 
  • Proper use of hazardous products. Use following all label precautions and applicable laws and regulations may also have an adverse impact on the environment or public health. 
  • Storage. Storage in or around the home, in anticipation of future use or disposal at a later date. 
  • Municipal Solid Waste (MSW) disposal. Disposal into residential garbage can or dumpster destined for MSW facility. 
  • Improper disposal. Hazardous waste that is buried, abandoned, put into a Construction and Demolition (C&D) landfill, poured down the drain, etc. (note: disposal down the drain is proper for some products, most water-based or water-soluble cleaners, e.g.). 

Risks can be to people, the environment, or property. The target can be:

  • In the home – occupants, pets, structures, contents
  • MSW workers/customers – drivers; transfer station, MRF and landfill personnel, also customers using the facilities
  • MSW equipment/operations – damage to MSW vehicles & facilities, increased operating costs
  • Publicly owned treatment works (POTW) – damage to sewage treatment plants equipment/operations or increased operating costs
  • The environment – contaminants in the air, water or soil and resultant effects on plants, animals and the food supply


Proposes a product stewardship program that would address the risks of these household products, and ask manufacturers to be a part of the solution. 

Status: Public Hearing Scheduled for 1pm on 2/11


The legislature passed HB2563 in 2019 to create the Northwest Regional Newborn Bloodspot Advisory Board.  This board was created to use the best available science, treatment developments, and patient centered advocacy to decide on additions to the Oregon newborn disease screening.  While working with OHA and the State Labs in 2019, they stated that a primary reason for not adding Krabbe and leukodystrophies to the panel, was the lack of treatment for these diseases.  Despite advances in treatment for leukodystrophies including Krabbe and Adrenoleukodystrophy and despite more states choosing to screen for these diseases, the advisory board has not seriously considered adding these diseases.   


The original, introduced version of HB2563 (2019), would have required that the lab add Krabbe and Adrenoleukodystrophy to the newborn blood screening.  We would like to re-draft the introduced/unamended version of HB 2563 from 2019. Directs Oregon Health Authority to adopt rules requiring infants to be screened to detect certain diseases. 

Status: Referred to House Committee on Healthcare 


Part-time faculty at Oregon Universities and Community Colleges do not have access to healthcare benefits.  Many part-time faculty in Oregon teach enough total hours that they should qualify for state health care coverage under current requirements, but the simple fact that they teach at multiple institutions disallows them from coverage even though their colleagues who teach the same amount at one institution receive coverage.


Provide access to health care coverage under OEBB for part-time faculty who qualify for PERS (600-1800hours of work in a year) and teach more than a half-time course load, whether at one institution or multiple

Redraft of HB 4146 (2020):  I would like the program to establish a floor for benefits, where employees only (not spouses or dependents) are eligible for benefits at a cost share of 90% state, 10% employee.  

This solution should not restrict employee bargaining power to negotiate for benefits greater than what is outlined in the legislation. 

Status: Public Hearing Scheduled for 1pm on 2/11


I passed the original bill in 2019. This just gives a rollout Regional Process that will provide a streamlined, efficient system that will help the three Agencies, farmers and ranchers that will use the program and will make sure it carries out the high standards of protection of our water channels and cleaning opportunities to help management of the land and control of flooding.

Special Shoutouts!

Two men in masks organizing packaged food on a long table

A Little Help Goes a Long Way

We’d like to recognize The Forest Grove Rotary, Forest Grove Foundation, Coalition on Rural Housing Insecurity and Phil’s 1500 Subs for packaging and delivering pre-made lunches to local area homeless. During these difficult times, a little help goes a long way! Thank you to all the members of our community who worked hard to make this possible. We appreciate you!

Find out more about this wonderful news by using this link: 

Forest Grove Rotary aids local community groups working to feed homeless

Woman with American flag mask in a red jacket with a small dog on her lap

A Community Effort

We’d like to give a very special shoutout to Open Door HousingWorks, a Cornelius-based housing and homeless service provider who started a GoFundme account to collect donations to help Leanne Montgomery, a Cornelius resident and long-time Open Door HousingWorks volunteer who tragically lost her motorhome to a fire back in January. We also want to thank our community for raising a substantial amount of money for Leanne in just a little time. 

You can find the article on Leanne’s story here: Fire destroys longtime volunteer's mobile home; community rallies

Updates from Salem

Bipartisan group of redistricting leaders request legal options to address delay in U.S. Census Data

*This is from a Press Release from House Speaker Tina Kotek’s office. 

  • On Wednesday, in response to delays at the United States Census Bureau, the bipartisan leaders of the Oregon Legislature’s redistricting committees requested that the Legislature explore potential legal options to extend its timeline for redistricting.
  • In a letter to Senate President Peter Courtney (D-Salem) and House Speaker Tina Kotek (D-Portland), the chairs and vice-chairs of the committees requested that the presiding officers seek legal counsel regarding all options that may be available to the Legislature. The letter is attached.
  • These options may include petitioning the Oregon Supreme Court to determine how the language of the Oregon Constitution applies to this unprecedented situation and if an alternative timeline is necessary. 
  • The Oregon Constitution requires the Legislative Assembly to complete the redistricting of state House and Senate districts “at the odd-numbered year regular session of the Legislative Assembly next following an enumeration of the inhabitants by the United States Government.” The United States Census Bureau has reported that census data used in redistricting will not be delivered to states until after July 30, 2021.


Historic Oregon Timber Negotiation Underway

*This is from a Press Release from Governor Kate Brown. Click the link above to read more.

  • Governor Kate Brown kicked off the first in a series of negotiation sessions this month as part of a groundbreaking agreement between forestry representatives, conservation leaders, and fishing organizations that aims to propose new protections for sensitive aquatic species on over 10 million acres of private forestland in Oregon, which could be formalized in a statewide Habitat Conservation Plan.
  • In February of last year, Governor Brown brokered an agreement between 13 conservation and fishing groups and 13 timber and forest products entities to abandon a costly and divisive ballot initiative fight in exchange for proactive legislation supporting collaboratively developed changes to forest practices. This agreement, called the Private Forest Accord, led to bi-partisan legislation that passed with overwhelming majorities in June 2020. 
    • The legislation codified the historic agreement, funded the negotiating process now underway, and enacted a set of significant reforms to the Forest Practices Act, some of which went into effect January 1. These new laws restrict helicopter applications of pesticides on forestland within 300 feet of homes, schools and drinking water, and created a new, first-in-the-nation real-time neighbor notification and reporting requirement.
  • On January 12, the parties began a series of meetings in which they will discuss proposed changes to forest practices and pursue securing a statewide Habitat Conservation Plan from federal agencies for threatened and endangered species, which would provide more regulatory certainty for landowners and long-term conservation benefits to designated wildlife species
  • The parties will work intensively over 2021 with the goal of an agreement to formalize in the 2022 legislative session.

More C.O. waterways added to Oregon’s ‘essential salmonid’ habitat

*This is a published article in KTVZ News. Click the link above to read more.

  • The Oregon Department of State Lands announced Tuesday it has updated the state’s essential salmonid habitat map and now is seeking the public’s comments on those updates, which include areas of Central Oregon.
  • Ali Ryan Hansen, a communications manger at DSL, said one of the things they are trying to to do is raise awareness to landowners and others of the essential salmonid habitat, so they can help protect it.
  • Created with Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife data, the map identifies streams where sensitive, threatened or endangered salmonid fish species – including Chinook salmon and steelhead trout -- lay eggs and where their young fish grow. 

Review the updated map, the draft rule outlining the process for future map updates, and other information about proposed changes on the DSL website

Map of streams showing endangered fish species

Vaccine Updates

Cartoon of lady on laptop

Governor Kate Brown Provides Updates on COVID-19 in Oregon

*This is from Governor Brown's press release. Click the link above to read more.

  • Governor Kate Brown held a press conference today to update Oregonians on the status of COVID-19 vaccinations in Oregon. The Governor was joined by Oregon Health Authority (OHA) Director Pat Allen and State Epidemiologist Dr. Dean Sidelinger.      
  • Starting Monday, the covidvaccine.oregon.gov site will include a new tool—Get Vaccinated Oregon— to help people determine eligibility and to sign up for email alerts and text notifications when they become eligible.
    • Seniors living independently with questions can also call 2-1-1 for information. To help ensure the phone lines are running smoothly, Governor Brown is deploying 30 additional National Guard members to help staff the call center.
  • A copy of the Governor's prepared remarks from today's press conference are available here.

    A recording of today's live-streamed press conference is available here.

    An HD recording of today's press conference for members of the media is available here. Please note, the video starts at the 31:45 mark.

    More information on vaccines is available at covidvaccine.oregon.gov.

Vaccinations for seniors in Oregon begins Monday

*This is a published article by the OHA. Click the link above to read more.

  • Starting Feb. 8, people age 80 and older can begin receiving the COVID-19 vaccine. The Oregon Health Authority is committed to getting all older Oregonians vaccinated. There will be more seniors who want to get vaccinated than there will be vaccines available to them.  
  • When will you be eligible?
    • Everyone 65 and older will be eligible for a vaccine by the end of February. Here are dates that each age group becomes eligible for the vaccine: 




Number of Oregonians 


80 and older 

February 8, 2021 


1B, Group 2 

75 and older 

February 15, 2021 


1B, Group 3 

70 and older 

February 22, 2021 


1B, Group 4 

65 and older 

March 1, 2021 


1B, Group 5


  • Next week, OHA will launch a new tool that will allow people to determine if they are eligible for a vaccine and register to get email alerts or text notifications about vaccine events in their area. The tool will be open to all Oregonians and information will be available in 11 languages. We will provide information about how to access the tool in Coronavirus Update after it goes live. In the meantime, Oregonians can: 
    • Visit covidvaccine.oregon.gov  
    • Text ORCOVID to 898211 
    • Email ORCOVID@211info.org  
    • Call 211 or 1-866-698-6155 (TTY: dial 711 or call 1-866-698-6155) 

Safeway and Albertsons logos

Select Oregon pharmacies will receive coronavirus vaccines starting next week

By Jamie Goldberg

*This is a published article in the Oregonian. Click the link above to read more.

  • Select Oregon pharmacies will begin offering COVID-19 vaccines to eligible Oregonians next week under a new distribution program.
  • The federal government will ship approximately 1 million vaccine doses directly to 6,500 pharmacies across the country as it launches the first phase of the Federal Retail Pharmacy Program, White House officials announced Tuesday. Pharmacies can begin vaccinations at no cost as soon as Feb. 11, officials said.
  • The White House is working with 21 national pharmacy partners and networks of independent pharmacies representing over 40,000 pharmacy locations nationwide, although not all partner pharmacies will receive doses during the program’s first phase.
  • Oregon’s share of doses will go to Costco, Health Mart Pharmacies and Albertsons Companies, which includes both Albertsons and Safeway stores. Until now, most vaccines have been administered at hospitals, clinics, nursing homes and special vaccination sites such as the Oregon Convention Center.
  • Oregonians currently eligible to receive vaccines under state guidelines will be able to sign up for appointments online through the company once it has the vaccines, McGinnis said.
  • Albertsons and Safeway posted information on vaccine availability and signups online at www.albertsons.com/COVID-19 and www.safeway.com/COVID-19. Appointment slots are not yet available because the company doesn’t have its vaccine allocation yet.

Vaccine sequencing plan by phases and groups

State now requires insurers to cover COVID-19 vaccinations

*This is a published article by the OHA. Click the link above to read more.

  • The State of Oregon now requires health benefit plans in Oregon to cover costs of vaccination for COVID-19, following an order by state Public Health Director Rachael Banks.
  • The Jan. 27 determination cites Oregon Revised Statute 743A.264 (2) and (3) in mandating that private health plans operating in Oregon not charge patients for most costs related to providing the vaccine. That includes the cost of all doses of the vaccine and associated supplies, and expenses for administering the shot, such as those related to staff time.
  • The Oregon Health Plan and Medicare programs do not charge patients for costs of vaccinations.
  • Oregonians who have questions about their insurance coverage are encouraged to contact their Coordinated Care Organization, insurance company or agent. If they still have questions or concerns, consumer advocates are available.
  • Oregon Health Plan: Call Oregon Health Authority at 800-273-0557 (toll-free).
  • Commercial insurance plans: Call the Oregon Division of Financial Regulation at 888-877-4894 (toll-free).
  • Medicare: Call 800-633-4227 (toll-free).

Lady with headset and microphone in front of computer

211info gears up for COVID-19 vaccination calls

By Jim Redden

*This is a published article in Pamplin Media news. Click the link above to read more.

  • The 211 information phone line has seen a dramatic increase in calls as the COVID-19 vaccine rollout is underway in Oregon.
  • Chief Executive Office Dan Herman tells KOIN 6 News that they were taking about 400 calls per day before the pandemic. Now, especially in the last two weeks, the line is receiving as many as 2,000 calls per day.
  • Before the pandemic, 211info was providing callers with referrals to basic needs programs such as food, shelter, health care and more. Now, they are still doing that on top of being the vaccine eligibility line for the State of Oregon.
  • Herman said any time there is a change in the distribution of the vaccine, the calls spike. They are expecting even more calls to come in once other populations are eligible.
  • Volumes are lower on the weekends. Herman recommends trying the line at different times of the day.
  • The organization has hired over 60 new employees to help field calls and still have 30 open positions.

Oregon must offer COVID-19 vaccine to inmates immediately, judge rules

By KGW Staff

*This is a published article in KGW News. Click the link above to read more.

  • As the state works to get available COVID-19 vaccine shots into the arms of Oregonians as quickly as possible, a new group of people has become immediately eligible for the vaccine: inmates. A federal judge on Tuesday ordered the state to offer all inmates in Oregon Department of Corrections (DOC) facilities a COVID-19 vaccine as if they are in the state’s Phase 1a group, which is currently eligible to get the vaccine.
  • The ruling was in response to a class action lawsuit filed in January by the Oregon Justice Resource Center (OJRC), a nonprofit that addresses issues involving mass incarceration. OJRC filed the suit against Gov. Kate Brown and leaders at Oregon DOC. The lawsuit called for the immediate vaccination of all inmates
  • Alice Lundell, director of communication with OJRC, said the order will help protect thousands of people who are at great risk of coronavirus infection.

Vaccination trends by day graph

COVID-19 Updates

National Numbers: 

  • Confirmed Cases: 26,398,337
  • Deaths: 449,020
  • 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 145, 320 total cases (confirmed and presumptive) of COVID-19. 
    • Today we have 730 new confirmed and presumptive cases, and 7 new deaths. 
    • A total of 1,998 Oregonians have died from COVID-19.
    • (previous daily case updates from OHA here)
  • Washington County still has one of the highest case counts at 120,106 confirmed cases, including 191 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's Epi Curve

What to expect when your student returns to school 

*This is a published article by the OHA. Click the link above to read more.

  • Across Oregon, some schools are starting to reopen. If your student is returning to school, you may be worried or hopeful or both. For students who return to the classroom, some things will look different. Here are some new health and safety routines to know about: 
    • Staggered arrival and dismissal times: This cuts down on crowding in hallways and common spaces. Your student may be assigned to a particular entrance and exit. There might be stricter sign-in/out processes to make contact tracing easier.
      • How you can help: Schools are asking caregivers to keep drop-off and pick-up as brief as possible.
    • Face coverings: Students from kindergarten up must wear a face covering indoors and outdoors, as well as on the school bus.
      • How you can help: Make sure young students can get their masks on and off without help. Wash masks daily. If you can, pack a spare mask in your student’s backpack.
    • Outdoor learning: Some lessons may happen outside when weather allows.
      • How you can help: Pack extra layers; make sure your student has rain gear
    • Meals at school: Students may be asked to eat outdoors or in classrooms instead of in the cafeteria. School meals will not be self-service or buffet-style.
      • How you can help: Young students often struggle to open containers. If your student brings a packed lunch, make sure they can open all their food and drink so that they don’t have to ask for help.

Ready Schools, Safe Learners has all the latest health and safety information.

Oregon OSHA logo

Oregon OSHA proposes ‘permanent’ rule addressing COVID-19 in all workplaces

By KTVZ Staff

*This is a published article in KTVZ News. Click the link above to read more.

  • Seeking to extend protections for workers against COVID-19, Oregon OSHA said Monday it is proposing a permanent rule that largely maintains – with some improvements – the risk-reducing workforce measures required by the current temporary emergency rule.
  • It would replace the temporary rule that is set to expire on May 4.
  • The proposed permanent rule will receive virtual public hearings later this month and in early March.
  • Although the rule must be adopted as a permanent rule, because the law does not allow a temporary rule to be extended, Oregon OSHA said expects to repeal the permanent rule, once it is no longer needed to address the coronavirus pandemic.
  • As with the temporary rule, which took effect last Nov. 16, the proposed permanent rule maintains such requirements as physical distancing; use of face coverings; regular sanitation; employee notification and training; maximization and maintenance of existing ventilation systems; and formal exposure risk assessment and infection control planning.
  • The proposed permanent rule would allow employers to rely upon the risk assessments, infection control plans and infection control training already completed.

However, the permanent rule would add measures and strengthen provisions in certain areas. Those proposed changes include:

  • Requiring employers to consider alternatives to transporting multiple people in a single vehicle, although such transportation would not be prohibited.
  • Slightly modifying the ventilation measures so that employers with more than 10 employees – and that have existing ventilation systems – must certify in writing that they are running their systems in line with current requirements. The proposed rule does not require the purchase or installation of new ventilation systems.
  • Requiring employers to provide written notification to employees of their rights to return to work when employees must quarantine.
  • Requiring employers to cooperate with public health authorities that ask to arrange for vaccination in the workplace. This proposed requirement is similar to the temporary rule’s provision mandating cooperation with public health officials, if COVID-19 testing in the workplace is necessary.
  • Requiring health care employers to provide respirators to employees working with known or suspected COVID-19-positive patients, unless they demonstrate there is a genuine shortage that they are working to resolve.
  • Learn more about the division’s workplace guidance and resources related to COVID-19: https://osha.oregon.gov/Pages/re/covid-19.aspx

Oregon Health Policy Board meets for an educational webinar Feb. 9 via Zoom

*This is a published article by the OHA. Click the link above to read more.

→ One tap mobile: +16692545252,,1616238267#,,,,*366752#

  • Purpose: This educational webinar will update the Oregon Health Policy Board and members of the public about Oregon’s 1115 Demonstration Waiver and the upcoming waiver renewal process. The webinar will provide details about what an 1115 waiver is, how Oregon has used this tool to help achieve statewide health system transformation goals, and a high-level overview of the priorities, guiding principles, and timing for the upcoming waiver renewal application.
  • For more information and meeting materials, please visit the OHPB meeting webpage at https://www.oregon.gov/oha/OHPB/Pages/index.aspx

Practice safe socializing, even on the water

*This is a published article by the OHA. Click the link above to read more.

  • You may have started to see new advertisements on broadcast TV and online through the #PracticeSafeSocializing campaign. 
  • Created in collaboration with Oregon ad agency Wieden+Kennedy as part of the Oregon Health Authority’s ongoing public awareness campaigns, the ads help remind us of the small steps every Oregonian can take to protect the people we love – adding inspiration and some levity to ongoing public health directives.  
  • Check out one of the ads, “Thank You, Fishermen”. 

Around the Region

Man in wheelchair pushing onto ramp sidewalk

Cornelius, Forest Grove to receive sidewalk curb ramps on Highway 8

By Max Egener

*This is a published article in Pamplin Media News. Click the link above to read more.

  • Sidewalks along Highway 8 in Cornelius and eastern Forest Grove will become more accessible to people with disabilities in 2021.
  • Workers will construct sidewalk curb ramps between Yew Street and North 17th Avenue at non-signalized intersections on both one-way directions of the two-road highway, signed as North Adair Street westbound and Pacific Avenue and Baseline Street eastbound.
  • The project, which began in January and will continue through 2021, will bring the sidewalks into compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act, Oregon Department of Transportation officials said in a Jan. 21 statement announcing the project.
  • The work will occur in two phases.
    • Work at each corner will take one to two weeks to complete, with construction at multiple intersections happening at the same time. Construction will only occur at one corner per intersection at a time
  • All roads will remain open during construction, officials said.
    • Officials will implement a temporary speed reduction from 40 mph to 30 mph along Highway 8.
    • Construction will cause intermittent lane, shoulder and sidewalk closures on Highway 8 and intersecting local streets, officials said.
  • Map courtesy of Oregon Department of Transportation below
Map of streets in Cities

Hillsboro seeks feedback on three 'inclusive playground' designs

By Max Egener

*This is a published article in Pamplin Media News. Click the link above to read more.

  • Officials want community feedback on three different possible designs for Hillsboro's first-ever inclusive playground, to be built at a planned 11-acre park.
  • The park will be located south of the Hidden Creek Community Center, a recently constructed 51,000-square-foot facility at Northeast Hidden Creek Drive that has yet to open.
  • A central feature of the park will be a playground designed to ensure people of all physical, cognitive and sensory abilities can use its structures and amenities.
    • Generally, inclusive playgrounds feature rubberized surfaces instead of bark chips, fencing, wider ramps and walkways, clear signage and universally accessible equipment such as swings with support.
    • Other park amenities will include picnic shelters, restrooms, pathways, a parking lot, street improvements, an open lawn and landscaping, officials said.
  • An online survey asking for feedback on three playground design options will be open until Thursday, Feb. 4.
    • City staff and design team members will incorporate feedback on the options to come up with one design that will be available for review before moving forward with the playground, said Christina Frank, a play specialist and project manager at design firm MIG, Inc.
  • Construction on the park and playground is expected to begin in 2022, with an anticipated opening in 2023, officials said.

City gets candid in virtual Forest Grove town meeting

By Wade Evanson 

*This is a published article in Pamplin Media News. Click the link above to read more.

  • City leaders in Forest Grove acknowledged they have fallen short of the community's expectations on issues of transparency, diversity and outreach during Forest Grove's annual town meeting this past Saturday, Jan. 30.
  • The meeting, held virtually over Zoom, allowed an array of city officials — including Mayor Pete Truax, City Manager Jesse VanderZanden, and interim chiefs Henry Reimann of the Forest Grove Police Department and Patrick Fale of Forest Grove Fire & Rescue — to address where the city stands regarding governing and protecting its citizens.
  • Much of the discussion revolved around the police department, which has faced varying levels of public scrutiny since two high-profile incidents last October, including the death of a Forest Grove man after he was tased by police during an altercation, as well as a late-night incident involving an off-duty officer, Steven Teets, harassing a family at their home and then being given a ride home by fellow officers.
  • Reimann reiterated that since the investigation into Teets' actions and officers' response is ongoing, he can't address the situation in much detail. He did, however, speak to the police department's desire to establish a closer and better working relationship with the city's residents.
  • VanderZanden also addressed the departure of Janie Schutz, the former police chief who retired amid controversy a little over a year ago.
  • The city manager acknowledged Forest Grove's shortcomings regarding transparency on Schutz's departure — which came days after VanderZanden formally notified Schutz that he was considering firing her as chief — but in the city's defense, he said, there is a difficult balancing act between "the desire for public transparency — which we understand and support — and employees' legal right to privacy."
  • VanderZanden noted that the hiring process for the new chief will be a nationwide search involving several panels in the interview process, including representatives from the Community Policing Advisory Commission (CPAC), Adelante Mujeres, Pacific University, the Forest Grove School District, Stand Up for Racial Justice, the Forest Grove/Cornelius Chamber of Commerce, and more.

Wildfire Recovery Updates

Human Impacts by category

Hazard tree removal work expands

  • The devastating wildfires that swept through Oregon in September 2020 left an estimated 300,000 hazard trees behind. Swift action is needed to mitigate the safety risk these trees pose. The Debris Management Task Force is focusing operations on hazard tree removal to ensure the safety of travelers, citizens and recovery crews.
  • In harder hit areas such as the McKenzie River corridor, people are noticing a stark difference in the landscape. Most Oregonians have an emotional connection to the natural beauty of our state. The removal of hundreds of thousands of trees - while necessary - is a painful sight. This necessary step to clear the area for replanting and rebuilding is a difficult but crucial part of the recovery process. 
  • This work includes marking, cutting down, and clearing trees, branches and debris. There will be staging areas for larger logs along the road and continual movement of crews and machinery. Travelers are advised to use caution in these areas, follow all posted signs and be prepared to stop if necessary. 
  • For updates on wildfire clean up efforts, visit wildfire.oregon.gov/cleanup. Property owners can call 503-934-1700 for more information.


Continue to work with FEMA to keep your recovery on track

  • Oregon wildfire survivors who have applied for FEMA assistance should stay in touch with FEMA to ensure the disaster assistance process stays on track. Be sure to keep contact information and current recovery status up to date with FEMA as they may need to reach out to conduct home inspections or get additional information. 
  • Survivors who registered with FEMA may update contact information in the following ways:
    • Online at DisasterAssistance.gov 
    • Download the FEMA app 
    • Call 800-621-3362. Multilingual operators are available 7a.m. to 10 p.m., seven days a week. 
    • Disaster survivors who are deaf, have a speech orhearing disability and use TTY may call 800-462-7585. 
    • Disaster survivors who use 711 or VRS (Video RelayService) may call 800-621-3362.


Oregon helps with wildfire-affected domestic wells

  • The Oregon Legislature recently allocated funds to the Oregon HealthAuthority to support 2020 wildfire victims with domestic well water testing. This will benefit an estimated 2,000 households that rely on wells for drinking water.
  • Information can be found at healthoregon.org/wells including damage assessment, action steps to protect domestic wells and guidance on getting well water tested. 
  • The assessment helps guide well users on what they can do themselves and what steps a licensed professional should take care of. There are multiple steps to ensuring safe drinking water including repairing and replacing damaged well components, re-pressurizing and refilling the well, flushing water lines, treating the well for microbial contaminants and testing.
  • Property owners can select from a list of approved environmental laboratories in Oregon and OHA that will provide vouchers for testing services. The deadline for these vouchers is May 15, 2021. For questions or more information, please visit healthoregon.org/wells.

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 Employment Department agrees to settle class action lawsuit

  • A class action lawsuit against the Oregon Employment Department over long delays paying unemployment benefits is headed towards settlement.
    • The Oregon Law Center and the Employment Department announced they had reached a settlement agreement and asked for preliminary court approval.
    • In the original case, more than a dozen people sued the agency and acting Director David Gerstenfeld over payment delays that stretched for months, as well as over barriers to applying for benefits in languages other than English. At the time, there wasn’t even a Spanish language application for regular benefits available online and phone lines with access to interpreters were jammed.
    • After the agency largely paid the original petitioners’ benefits, the Oregon Law Center succeeded in turning the case into a class action lawsuit, representing tens of thousands of Oregonians who had waited more than four weeks for benefits.
  • In the proposed settlement agreement, the Employment Department commits to:
    • Meet federal timeliness standards for paying unemployment benefits by March 1, 2021
    • Meet federal timeliness standards for adjudicating claims (resolving eligibility issues) by April 1, 2021
    • Work through the adjudication backlog (as of mid-January) by March 1, 2021
    • Make its regular unemployment application available online in Spanish, with a May target date
    • Eventually provide online applications for regular unemployment benefits and Pandemic Unemployment Assistance in a minimum of ten languages
    • Provide outreach to people with limited English proficiency who were unable to access benefits because of language barriers, while allowing them to backdate claims to the extent allowed by law
  • Over the course of the lawsuit, the Employment Department described being overwhelmed by an historic flood of unemployment claims. It detailed the steps it took to process and pay them, including hiring hundreds of new staff.
  • But court documents filed in the case also revealed that the state’s adjudication backlog was larger than publicly described. That backlog contributed to the state’s immense wait times. Court documents also showed one of the steps the agency took to streamline the claims process: it decided to treat many gig workers as employees, paying them regular benefits from a state trust fund rather than federal benefits for independent contractors.
  • The Employment Department is not admitting liability as part of the proposed settlement and, in the settlement agreement, the agency denies being in violation of any laws.

Other Assistance Updates

Snap Benefits Announcement

Wondering about your food benefits this month?

*This is a published article by the OHA. Click the link above to read more.

  • The Oregon Department of Human Services (ODHS) will continue to offer increased food benefits in February 2021, to help Oregonians struggling as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. 
    • This benefit increase applies to current Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) recipients who are receiving less than the maximum allotment. Additionally, in response to the ongoing COVID-19 crisis, there is also a temporary increase in SNAP benefits of approximately 15% for all recipients. 
    • SNAP recipients do not have to take any action to receive additional benefits as they will be placed directly on their Oregon EBT cards.  

More information is in a news release: https://go.usa.gov/xAtAP

Many Oregon tenants are still struggling with rent; state assistance is coming

By Jamie Goldberg

*This is a published article in The Oregonian. Click the link above to read more.

  • A small but significant portion of Oregon tenants were unable to pay rent on time in January or make up their missed payments during the month, a sign that more renters may be taking on debt as the coronavirus pandemic continues.
  • In December, Oregon lawmakers extended the state’s eviction moratorium through June and allocated an additional $200 million toward rent assistance to help renters and small landlords struggling amid the pandemic.
    • The state allocated $150 million of those funds to a new landlord compensation fund, which will allow property owners to apply directly for rent assistance on behalf of tenants who are behind on rent. Landlords who receive relief funds must forgive 20% of past-due rent.
  • Applications for the first round of funding through the program could open as early as this week, according to Nicole Stingh, a spokesman for Oregon Housing and Community Services, the state agency administering the program. However, it is unlikely that money will go out before March.
    • The state will make $50 million available in the first round of funding, which can be used to cover rent owed from April 2020 through February of this year. Stingh said the agency expects to offer at least three rounds of funding before the end of June. Landlords owed the greatest percentage of rent and those with fewer properties will be prioritized.
    • The majority of the remaining $50 million allocated by the Legislature will be distributed to community agencies across the state this month, Stingh said. Renters will be able to apply for that funding through local agencies, but the money will go directly to landlords to cover past due rental bills.
    • Oregon Housing and Community Service is also receiving roughly $200 million more in rent assistance from the federal government. Stingh said the agency is waiting on additional guidance before allocating the funds.

Update from the Oregon Department of Transportation 

DMV Customer Service Improvements/Backlog Reductions Efforts

Field Offices/Drive Tests/Knowledge Tests

-      Field office visits surpassed 30,000/week

-      We’ve added new Lobby Management systems with more on the way

-      We’re hopeful to have online knowledge testing and proctored testing later this summer

-      We continue to pursue statutory/legislative changes to remove the requirement for two outdated knowledge tests (out-of-state knowledge test + redundant teen driver test); these statutory changes could eliminate ~10k knowledge tests a month.


Call Centers/Online Services

-      We continue to hire additional call center staff to expand capacity; overall, the total call center phone agency capacity is increasing by 53% from 75 FTE to 115 FTE.

-      One of our major satellite call centers (Coffee Creek Correctional Institution) is currently closed due to COVID-19 cases; this is why we had a slight uptick in wait times at the call center

-      DMV successfully deployed artificial intelligence customer service technology at its call centers. This technology will enable customers to receive answers to basic questions without needing to speak to a phone agent

-      DMV successfully deployed an AI “chat bot” on DMV web pages to assist customers with frequently asked questions

Additional Resources

Employers and Employees

  • Oregon Secretary of State’s business resources can be found at www.oregon.gov/smallbusiness or you can email questions to business.sos@oregon.gov. 

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


Working at home is different with many screens! Christmas Cactus bloomed again this February!

Pictures of screens with the House floor and a zoom with legislators. A photo of a cactus plant

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