Latest Rev Forecast, Small Biz Rent Relief, ShakeAlert & More


Senator Floyd Prozanski
South Lane and North Douglas Counties
District 4

900 Court St. NE, S-413, Salem Oregon 97301
Capitol phone: 503-986-1704
e-Bulletin                     March 2021

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Dear friends,

    It has officially been one year since Oregon's first confirmed case of COVID-19. Needless to say, life has changed for all of us over the past 12 months. I'm encouraged by ongoing vaccination efforts and news from the federal government that enough doses for all adult Americans will be available by the end of May. All indications are that the end is insight, and it can't come soon enough!

That said, the Douglas Public Health Network in Douglas County confirmed the case of the Brazilian variant on the U.S. West Coast. Accordingly, we're not out of the woods yet; it's vital that each of us continue to do our part to keep COVID-19 and its variants from spreading though our communities by masking up, maintaining safe social distancing, and frequently washing hands with soap and water.

    As more Oregonians become eligible to receive their vaccinations, please keep an eye on your county's dedicated webpage for information on vaccine appointment pre-registration and scheduling:

    Douglas County COVID-19 and Vaccine Information 

    Lane County COVID-19 and Vaccine Information 

    With an increase in vaccine supply, private pharmacies are now also receiving doses to administer. If you are interested in a pharmacy vaccine appointment, you may consider using one of these third-party websites:

    In other news, following delays due to ice storms that affected the mid and north Willamette Valley last month, t
he Legislature's House and Senate committees tasked with wildfire recovery held two virtual evening meeting to hear from Oregonians about post-fire experiences and needs related to shelter, cleanup, and rebuilding. As a member of the Senate Committee on Natural Resources & Wildfire Recovery, I found the personal accounts shared by fire survivors to be compelling and helpful in informing the committees about where to focus efforts this session. A third evening public hearing provided opportunity for local officials from some of the fire-affected communities to share challenges and concerns. I was glad to welcome Douglas County Commissioner Tom Kress, Lane County Commissioner Heather Buch, McKenzie Fire/Rescue Chief Darren Bucich, and McKenzie School District Superintendent Lane Tompkins, among other officials from Senate District 4 at this dedicated public hearing. Recordings of these three meetings are available to watch here. (The Holiday Farm and Archie Creek Fires were covered on 2/22; the meeting for local officials was on 2/23. Click the "play" icon next to each meeting date on the right to watch the recorded video.)

    I have been joining Kyle Bailey on KQEN's "Inside Douglas County" most Fridays since session started. 
You can listen to our latest interview here.

    Below you will find information on:

- March Revenue Forecast
        - Commercial Rent Relief Grants to Help Small Businesses
        - Redistricting Committees Virtual Roadshow Public Meetings for District 4
        - Oregonians Can Get 2021 Health Insurance Until May 15
        - ShakeAlert Helps Oregonians Prepare for the "Big One"
        - Highway 58 Herald Launches

    I hope this information is helpful and informative for you or someone you know. As always, feel free to share your comments, questions or concerns with me by phone, mail or e-mail.

                                                               Sen. Prozanski signature

March Revenue Forecast

    The March 2021 Economic and Revenue Forecast was released at a joint virtual meeting of the Senate and House Revenue Committees. This forecast, summarized below, shows that our economic recovery is tied to our ability to slow the spread of COVID-19. We must ensure Oregonians are vaccinated and renew our commitment to follow public health guidelines. When individuals hold large gatherings, refuse to wear a mask, or ignore distancing and hygiene recommendations, they put people's lives and our economic recovery at risk.

Revenue Outlook

    Net General Fund and lottery resources for the 2019-21 biennium are up $642.7 million from the December 2020 forecast. The Rainy Day Fund is projected to receive $226 million following the end of the 2019-21 Biennium. Projected 2019-21 lottery resources are down $101 million since the December 2020 forecast.

    Meanwhile, the projected ending balances for the reserve accounts for the 2019-21 biennium are as follows: Education Stability Fund ($410 million), Rainy Day Fund ($946 million), and General Fund ($1,737 million).

Kicker Outlook

    A personal kicker of $570 million is projected for the 2021-23 Biennium. The projected corporate kicker of $420 million is to be dedicated to K-12 education spending in in the 2021-23 Biennium.

Economic Outlook

    According to the Oregon Office of Economic Analysis (OEA), the nature of the pandemic-induced recession led the economy into a severe shutdown essentially overnight last spring. Since then, nearly every economic indicator has looked better than first feared. While the broad contours of the economic outlook remain the same since the start of the pandemic, the timing and strength of the recovery continue to come in above expectations.

The stage is set for a strong recovery this year and next as the pandemic wanes. This is largely due to the improvements seen in public health, the large federal fiscal policy response, and underlying resiliency in the economy. It's encouraging that there has been relatively few business closures and long-term layoffs to date.

    Federal aid has kept most firms and households afloat over the past year. Despite being down 160,000 jobs (9 percent), total personal income in Oregon today is higher than it was prior to the onset of the pandemic. Personal savings have built up among middle- and upper-income households. Pent-up demand will drive stronger growth in the months ahead.

    The shift in consumer spending out of physical goods and back into labor-intensive, in-person services will result in large employment gains this year and next. The full return to in-person schooling this fall will provide a double boost to the economy as well. There is a direct jobs increase from hiring more teachers and staff, in addition to the indirect boost from freeing parents to rejoin the labor force or increase their hours worked in greater numbers. Overall, Oregon's economy should return to health by early-2023. This is six to nine months sooner than expected in recent forecasts and more than a full year earlier than expected in the first post-COVID forecast released last May.

Forecast Risks

    Risks to the current outlook are balanced but in an asymmetrical way, according to OEA. To the upside, pent-up demand may be stronger than anticipated. The baseline does allow for just a bit of relative weakness in the coming month or two. Additionally, the upcoming disbursement of recovery rebates from the expectant federal relief bill will also arrive at the time when the video lottery terminals will be turned on across the state. The previous two disbursements occurred when the vast majority were turned off due to health restrictions.

    To the downside, there is always the possibility the pandemic will worsen due to a resurgent virus. In the event this does happen and health measures are reinstated, video lottery sales will drop overnight, leading to large revenue declines. Such a scenario could be statewide or it could be more regional due to hot spots or flare ups in cases in particular counties.

    On a more modest scale, downside risks to the lottery outlook include consumers choosing to allocate their entertainment dollars elsewhere as the economy reopens. This could be on going out to eat with friends, on vacations, to sporting events, or even trips to gaming destinations like Las Vegas. The end result of any of these possibilities is that even as incomes and spending are rising, the amount spent on Oregon Lottery games may not rise as quickly.

OEA's Corporate Activity Tax Projections

    HB 3427 (2019) created a new state revenue source by implementing a corporate activity tax (CAT) that went into effect in January 2020. Projected gross revenues equal $1.26 billion for 2019-21 and $2.29 billion in 2021-23, up modestly from the previous forecast. The revision is due to higher-than-anticipated collections for the fourth quarterly estimated payment, which was due on January 31.

    These revenues are dedicated to spending on education. The legislation also included personal income tax rate reductions, reducing General Fund revenues. The net impact of HB 3427 was designed to generate approximately $1 billion per year in new state resources, or $2 billion per biennium.

Commercial Rent Relief Grants to Help Small Businesses

The Legislature allocated $100 million to Business Oregon for a new program to provide financial assistance to small businesses and commercial landlords impacted by the economic hardships caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. This program provides grants to building owners to cover outstanding lease payments from small business tenants that are behind on rent due to COVID-19. The grants are capped at $100,000 per each business tenant lease, but not more than $3 million for each landlord. Landlords must agree not to evict grantee tenants for six months and waive any rights to collect outstanding penalties or interest, or enforce eviction clauses related to delinquent lease payments between March 1, 2020, and February 28, 2021.

    The grant program is intended to help small business tenants that have 100 or fewer employees. Grant agreements will include additional protections for tenants, such as non-eviction clauses, and a waiver of penalties and interest.

    Business Oregon will begin accepting applications on Monday, March 8. Both applying businesses tenants and their property owners will need to participate in the application process and sign the grant agreement, but the initial application needs to be completed by the landlord. The application period will be open for two weeks, with eligible submissions chosen by a lottery system that will also ensure geographic distribution across all regions of the state. The program is split into two rounds, the first $50 million will be allocated in the application period opening March 8. The remaining will be used in an additional application period that will open in late April. Unsuccessful (but eligible) applicants from the first round will automatically be considered in the second round, as will any new round two applicants.

    This is the seventh COVID-specific program that Business Oregon has implemented to help businesses navigate the impacts of the pandemic. One of those programs — the emergency small business grant — helped about 7,500 small businesses with $43 million in grants to help offset revenue impacts from COVID-19.

    More program information and eligibility details are available on Business Oregon's website. The application will be available on that website on March 8, 2021, and be available in multiple languages.

Oregonians Can Get 2021 Health Insurance Until May 15

    Oregonians who don't qualify for the Oregon Health Plan and don't get health insurance through their job can still get health coverage for 2021 using the Oregon Health Insurance Marketplace's "window shopping" feature available at is the online home of the Oregon Health Insurance Marketplace, a part of state government. It is the state-level partner of, the national website where people enroll in Marketplace plans and access subsidies.

    Health insurance sold through the Marketplace is individual and family coverage offered by private companies, such as Bridgespan, Kaiser Permanente, Moda, PacificSource, Providence, and Regence. Not every company is available in every part the state, but at least three insurance companies and at least 15 plan choices are available everywhere in Oregon.

    More than 70 percent of Oregonians enrolled through the Marketplace last year qualified for a subsidy. People who received help with the costs of their health insurance paid, on average, $137 per month. An insurance expert can help you, at no cost, apply for the subsidy and enroll in coverage. They are listed at more information, visit or call 855-268-3767.

Redistricting Committees Virtual Roadshow Public Meetings for District 4

    The Legislature's Senate and House committees on Redistricting will be holding a series of 10 public "virtual roadshow" meetings to take testimony from Oregonians regarding the redrawing of legislative and congressional district lines. There will be two meetings held in each of the five congressional districts.

    The below links are to agendas for the meetings planned in the Fourth Congressional District. Using these links, Oregonians can submit written testimony and/or sign up to present testimony using Microsoft Teams.

    Tuesday, March 16th – 5:30 – 7:30 p.m.

    Saturday, April 10th – 12:00 – 2:00 p.m.

    A one-page informational flyer for the redistricting meetings is available here.

ShakeAlert Helps Oregonians Prepare for the "Big One"

Wildfires, floods, volcanoes and earthquakes: Oregon has its share of natural hazards. Each of these hazards presents unique challenges, but one of the biggest challenges for earthquake preparedness is unpredictability. Earthquakes strike without warning, causing widespread damage in a matter of seconds.

    Fortunately, we have a new preparedness tool, the ShakeAlert Earthquake Early Warning system. ShakeAlert does not predict earthquakes. Rather, it uses a network of sensors to detect an earthquake that has just begun. Data from the sensors are used by ShakeAlert processing centers to calculate the estimated quake magnitude and intensity. Alert distribution providers (e.g., operators of purpose-built apps) create an alert which can be delivered to wireless devices — in a matter of seconds — potentially reaching device users before the shaking does. In the seconds between receiving an alert and feeling shaking, people can protect themselves by dropping, covering and holding on.

    By studying past earthquakes and by mapping and monitoring movement along plate boundaries and faults, seismologists can identify areas, like the Pacific Northwest, with a high earthquake hazard, explains Crayne. Seismologists can also look at recurrence interval (the average amount of time between quakes) to estimate the likelihood of an earthquake occurring in the future. But probabilities aren't predictions; no one knows exactly where the next earthquake will occur, or when. That's why ShakeAlert Earthquake Early Warning is such a valuable preparedness tool. By rapidly detecting earthquakes and deploying alerts, the System can offer live-saving seconds for individuals. ShakeAlert-powered alerts can also be used to trigger automated actions such as closing a gas valve or slowing a train. These actions can prevent cascading infrastructure failures in the aftermath of an earthquake.

    ShakeAlert is an easy-to-use tool. Beginning March 11, 2021, mobile devices in Oregon will automatically be able to receive ShakeAlert-powered alerts via Wireless Emergency Alert (WEA), just like a severe weather or AMBER alert. All WEA alerts, regardless of type, behave the same. The device makes a distinctive notification sound and the alert pops up in a text window on the screen. Some devices with text-to-voice capability may read out the message text. In the case of an earthquake alert, the WEA text will read: "Earthquake Detected! Drop, Cover, Hold On. Protect Yourself. -USGS ShakeAlert."

Highway 58 Herald Launches

A group of Lane County volunteers has launched a new online newspaper as a free, nonprofit service to Oakridge, Westfir, Pleasant Hill, Lowell, Dexter, Jasper and other communities along Oregon's busiest mountain highway. is funded by donations, grants and advertising and is being created to fill a news vacuum in communities whose residents need accurate, comprehensive and reliable information to participate fully in community life and to stay safe in times of emergencies.

    The editor is Doug Bates (, a retired newspaper journalist, who lives in Oakridge. A volunteer reporter covering Pleasant Hill and Lowell is Dean Rea, also a retired newspaper journalist, who lives in Eugene (

    Highway58Herald is not Facebook or any other kind of social medium. Neither is the website a chat forum or a home for gossip, misinformation, personal invective or political activism. It does not intend to compete with existing information websites maintained by cities, schools and other organizations. Weekly newspapers have vanished from the Highway 58 corridor. is being created to fill this void with professional journalism that can best be produced for this area by a non-for-profit platform supported by donations, grants and (modest) advertising.

    Headquartered in Oakridge, will serve the thriving as well as the struggling communities along the 87-mile length of State Highway 58, which at various times of the year is Oregon's busiest highway freight route or tourist route between Oregon and California. Stretching from the southeastern outskirts of Eugene in Lane County to the tiny hamlet of Crescent in Klamath County, this transportation corridor is home to more than 26,000 Oregonians.

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