Celebrating a Vaccine Milestone!

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Hello Friends,

This week we had a large set of Public Hearings in Joint Transportation that I chaired. We heard two bills: Senate Bill 574 and House Bill 2498  We heard from 31 members of the public and had eight questions from Committee for a full conversation. Starting on March 8th, we will go to two House and Senate Floors a week. The Governor set out a planned schedule for school openings  for the next two months. I am receiving many e-mails from citizens on legislation. Keep in touch.

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

Happy National Speech and Debate Education Day!

I've been a Speech and Debate coach for most of my 47 year career and I am still doing it. I am very excited to celebrate National Speech and Debate Education Day today! I am so grateful for all the students I've had the pleasure of working with over the course of my career. 

speech and debate day

Past speech squads before the pandemic!

Collage of 4 photos with Rep McLain and Speech/Debate students

2021 Session: Bill Highlights

Cartoons of bills lying around and hanging out


1. Our Part-Time Faculty Bill (HB 3007) has a Work Session scheduled for March 9th.  And Senate Bill 551, which is identical to HB3007, just passed out of the Senate Education Committee and is now on to Ways and Means.

  • This bill would provide that part-time faculty members at public institutions of higher education who qualify for health care benefits will pay 10 percent of insurance premiums for employee coverage. It requires the state to pay for the remaining costs of insurance premiums out of moneys appropriated to the Oregon Educators Benefit Board. It permits institution to agree through either institution policy or collective bargaining to pay a portion of health care benefits paid for by employee. 

2. The Law Enforcement Regulation Bill (HB 2928) had two public hearings already and a work session. Another work session is scheduled for March 10th at 8am. Click on the bill link to watch the work session. 

  • This bill would regulate the use of chemical incapacitants, kinetic impact projectiles and sound devices by law enforcement agencies. It also creates a private cause of action for any person injured by the unlawful use of these devices by law.  It prohibits law enforcement agencies from using proxy law enforcement agencies to enact measures that the court or statute has barred them from using and prohibits them from acting in concert with another law enforcement agency to engage in the misconduct barred by this statute.  And finally, it eliminates immunity from claims under Oregon Tort Claims Act arising out of riot, civil commotion or mob action. 

3. The Crime of Riot Bill (HB 2941) was assigned to the Subcommittee on Equitable Policing. 

  • This bill would direct the Department of Justice to study issues related to prosecuting the crime of riot and to provide results of the study to interim committees of the Legislative Assembly no later than December 31, 2021. Sunsets January 2, 2022.

4. The Student Success Bill (HB 2590) had a public hearing yesterday, March 4th. You can watch the recorded hearing by clicking the link.

  • This bill would establish a Task Force on Student Success for Underrepresented Students in Higher Education. It would direct the task force to develop student success policy proposals focusing on increasing the likelihood of student success in higher education for students from populations that are underrepresented in higher education enrollment. 

5. The Deaf and Hard of Hearing Automotive Registration Bill (HB2498) had a public hearing in the Joint Transportation Committee on March 4.

  • This bill addresses the need to improve communication between law enforcement agents and drivers they encounter that may be deaf or hard of hearing. The bill includes provisions allowing a registered owner to request that a registration card for their vehicle include that the owner, or person operating the vehicle, may be deaf or hard of hearing. It also prohibits the Department of Transportation from adding restrictions on a driver license or driver permit if the reason for the restriction is because the person is deaf or hard of hearing.

Special Shoutout!

Oregon state with cartoons of man in striped shirt and hat, and woman with hijab

Huge thank you and shoutout to our frontline healthcare workers and care facility personnel for helping us reach a monumental vaccination milestone: more than 1 million vaccines administered to Oregonians!

Read more about this exciting accomplishment using this LINK from the Oregon Health Authority News Release.


Oregon coast

Redistricting Committee - "Virtual Roadshow Meetings"

Redistricting is the once-a-decade process of redrawing United State House of Representatives (Congressional) and Oregon State Senate and State House of Representatives (Legislative) district boundaries to account for changes in population

There will be two upcoming meetings held (virtually) on redistricting and Congressional District 1 (of which House District 29 is a part of), that you can participate in.

The meeting dates are as follows (with links to the agendas below):

These hearings are required to be scheduled prior to the preparation of draft legislative and congressional redistricting maps. There are also plans for additional “virtual roadshow” meetings after proposed maps have been completed.

Visit the Oregon State Legislature’s redistricting webpage, or click the graphic below, for more information.

Updates from Salem

governor brown in a black blazer and black glasses

Oregon governor orders public schools to reopen by mid-April

*This article is from OPB News. Click the link above to read more.

  • It’s been almost a year since Gov. Kate Brown ordered schools to close because of COVID-19. Now, she’s ordering them to open back up again.
  • The order directs school districts to open for students in grades kindergarten through fifth grade on or before the week of March 29, and for students in grades 6-12 on or before the week of April 19.
  • Brown’s date for an elementary return to in-person instruction is on or before the week of March 29. Beaverton’s plan doesn’t bring students into the classroom until April 5. Brown’s timing for secondary students aligns with the district’s current plan.
  • Brown’s letter tells the Oregon Health Authority and Oregon Department of Education to issue updated reopening guidance for public schools “no later than March 19.”
School Opening List

COVID-19 Business Relief Fund

Oregon Worker Relief Fund to distribute $10 million to immigrant-owned small businesses

*This article is from The Oregonian. Click the link above to read more.

  • A state fund set up last year to help workers from immigrant communities will distribute $10 million to immigrant-owned small businesses across Oregon.
  • Organizers of the Oregon Worker Relief Fund announced Thursday that they had established a new program, the Oregon Small Enterprise Fund, to support small business owners who have been impacted by the coronavirus pandemic but have been unable to secure aid through federal programs.
  • The Oregon Legislature’s Emergency Board allocated $46 million in January to set up the new fund and provide ongoing support to the Oregon Worker Relief Fund.
  • Qualifying small business owners can receive grants between $7,000 and $25,000 through the new program.
    • To be eligible, businesses must have experienced a decline in revenue due to the pandemic, be actively operating in Oregon and be at least partially owned by someone who uses an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number or equivalent to file their taxes. The Internal Revenue Service issues those numbers to people who don’t have Social Security numbers.
    • Businesses that received funds from the federal government’s Paycheck Protection Program will not be eligible for the state-backed grants.
  • Business can apply by calling 1-888-274-7292. More information will be available at a virtual community forum Saturday. People can RSVP for the event by visiting the Alivio Laboral de Oregon Facebook page.
  • The Oregon Worker Relief Fund and a separate fund run by the group to support immigrants who have had to quarantine due to COVID-19 has distributed over $40 million since last April to over 25,000 Oregonians who were otherwise unable to access federal aid due to their immigration status.

eviction notice

Lawmakers poised to extend Oregon foreclosures hiatus

*This article is from the Hillsboro NewsTimes. Click the link above to read more.

  • A House panel is poised to extend a moratorium on Oregon foreclosures during the coronavirus pandemic, although the latest proposal is narrower than the law in effect until the end of last year.
    • The House Business and Labor Committee heard from both sides at an hourlong hearing Wednesday, March 3. Low-income housing advocates urged passage of House Bill 2009, which would end the moratorium on Sept. 1, unless Gov. Kate Brown chose by executive order to extend it to Dec. 31. But banks and credit unions opposed it or questioned the need for it.
    • House Speaker Tina Kotek, in a meeting with reporters on March 1, said she considered the bill unfinished business from last year's special sessions prompted by the pandemic. The Portland Democrat is a chief sponsor of the bill.

Vaccine Updates



Trying to understand how to find a vaccine appointment? Check out these new graphics

*This article is from the Oregon Health Authority Press Release. Click the link above to read more.

  • We heard that the process for finding a vaccination appointment has been confusing for people who live in the Salem and Portland metropolitan areas. 
  • For easier understanding, OHA has created new graphics (above) with steps to show the best way to find a vaccine appointment.

cartoon of a lady with long black hair on her laptop

Western states workgroup recommends Johnson & Johnson vaccine

*This article is from the Oregon Health Authority Press Release. Click the link above to read more.

  • The Western States Scientific Safety Review Workgroup has concluded that “the Johnson & Johnson (Janssen Biotech) COVID-19 vaccine is safe and effective for use in the Western States.”
  • The workgroup, composed of nationally acclaimed scientists with expertise in immunizations and public health, has been independently reviewing the safety and efficacy of all FDA approved COVID-19 vaccines. The workgroup previously approved the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines late last year.
  • The single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine, which received an Emergency Use Authorization from the federal government over the weekend, is expected to arrive in Oregon this week.
  • Read the full press release here.

Washington County COVID-19 Vaccine Information


What is Washington County's role in COVID-19 vaccination? 

Our primary role is to ensure access to vaccine by all people who want it. This does not mean that we will be doing a lot of vaccinations ourselves. In fact, the County expects to vaccinate just 5-10% of the population, mainly through vaccine clinics for people not well served through healthcare systems and pharmacies. We will plan these clinics with community partners with an equity priority for those who have been affected by COVID-19 disproportionately (Latinx and BIPOC communities) and those who have limited access due to homelessness or poverty.

Vaccine Appointment Locations

Oregon Convention Center

  • This tool allows users to fill out a form to receive call or text when a vaccine is available​ for them.

OHSU Drive-Thru (PDX Airport and Hillsboro Stadium)

Portland VA Health Care System (for Veterans)




Washington County community clinics

  • Watch our vaccine and vacuna (Spanish) web site pages for specific events​.

Additional Resources and Information

Washington County Message Center: 1-833-907-3520

  • For people without internet access or who need language assistance​. Languages include: English, Spanish, Russian, Korean, Khmer, Persian, Somalian, Tagalog, Vietnamese, Cantonese, Mandarin, and Arabic. Interpretation is available in additional languages. 
  • This phone number does not give people access to additional vaccines, but rather assists them in making appointments for the existing vaccine supply. Users who are eligible for vaccine can expect to hear back within 3 days, or sooner if appointments are available.

Vaccine Appointment Transportation Options

For those members enrolled in the Oregon Health Plan (OHP), either with a Coordinated Care Organization (CCO) or as a Fee for Service (often known as “open card”) member:

  • Health Share of Oregon (Ride to Care): 503-416-3955 or 855-321-4899
  • Trillium (MTM): 877-583-1552
  • OHP Fee for Service (Tri-County MedLink): 866-336-2906


For individuals not enrolled in OHP who need transportation assistance

  • Ride Connection serves older adults and people with disabilities in Clackamas, Multnomah and Washington counties (Mon-Fri). Call 503-226-0700.
  • TriMet LIFT is a service for people who are unable to use regular buses and trains due to a disability or disabling health condition. Individuals should be enrolled before scheduling. Call 503-962-8000.
  • One Call is for Providence members only. Call 866-733-8994.


Additional Resources

COVID-19 Updates

National Numbers: 

  • Confirmed Cases: 28,580,198 
  • Deaths: 517,224
  • These national numbers come from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.  You can view their national and state by state data here.


blue shaded map

Oregon Status Report: 

  • Oregon now has 156,673 total cases (confirmed and presumptive) of COVID-19. 
  • Today we have 392 new confirmed and presumptive cases, and 32 new deaths. 
  • A total of 2,284 Oregonians have died from COVID-19.

         (previous daily case updates from OHA here)

  • Washington County still has one of the highest case counts at 21,345 confirmed cases, including 216 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

Nurse with mask, glasses and purple gloves holding syringe

'California' variant of COVID-19 detected in Lane County, Oregon

*This article is from KVAL News. Click the link above to read more.

  • The so-called "California" variant of the novel coronavirus has been identified in an analysis of COVID-19 test samples in Lane County.
  • "While this represents the first lab confirmed examples of a COVID-19 variant in Lane County, variants have been detected in other parts of Oregon," Lane County Public Health said Tuesday. "No other variants have been detected to date in Lane County as part of this process."
    • The California variant has several mutations which may make it more infectious than other forms of the virus.
    • It is one of several such variants identified so far by scientists.

Dr. Rochelle Walensky, head of the CDC, spoke at the White House coronavirus briefing Friday, noting virus mutations spreading in the U.S. are among the CDC’s biggest concerns. Along with a more transmissible strain first detected in Britain, scientists here are tracking variants in New York and California, which also appear to spread more easily.

Around the Region

downtown hillsboro with card and buildings on a sunny day


*This article is from the recent Downtown Hillsboro update. Click the link above to read more.

  • Downtown welcomed Mayor Steve Callaway as he cut the ribbon at 4th Avenue and E Main Street today (Friday, March 5th) at 10:00 am. 
  • In partnership with the City of Hillsboro’s Economic Development Department and Hillsboro Chamber, Hillsboro Downtown Partnership congratulates businesses on their tenacity and shares their hope for a successful recovery from the pandemic. 
  • After almost a year of COVID-19 closures, limited occupancy, and the public’s impression that local businesses were not open for business, the new Washington County “Moderate” status allows businesses to implement the following: 
    • Indoor dining: to increase to 50% capacity or 100 people, whichever is smaller.
    • Outdoor dining: to increase to a maximum of 150 people, including individual dining pods. Maximum party-size of eight people.
    • Indoor recreation and fitness: increase to 50% capacity or 100 people, whichever is smaller.
  • Downtown Hillsboro also has more to celebrate since the closures one year ago. If you haven't visited lately, you may be surprised about what you will find.


  • North Hair Design
  • Arcade 2084
  • Indigo Creative Hair Studio
  • Richest Ornament Beauty
  • Dita Barbers
  • The Venetian
  • Seriously Inked
  • Mamancy Tea Co.
  • Rustic Rendition
  • Carts on Main


  • Several restaurants have added outdoor dining options.
  • A food truck pod and community space has replaced a vacant lot.
  • New facade on the Venetian and a restored marquee on the Hill Theater have been completed.

young boy with backpack exiting a stopped school bus

FGSD, School Board offer return to school plan

*This article is from the Forest Grove News Times. Click the link above to read more.

  • A comprehensive return to school plan has been approved by the Forest Grove School Board.
  • Through the Forest Grove School District website, Superintendent David Parker announced the district's revised plan Friday, Feb. 26, which includes both in-person and virtual learning for kids at the elementary through high school levels.
  • As part of the previous plan, announced Jan. 29, in-person learning at the youngest levels was slated to begin during the second week of April, with secondary students (seventh- through 12th-graders) scheduled for the first week of May. However, the district has adjusted that timeline by as much as two weeks.
  • The new plan calls for in-person elementary school classes, beginning with pre-kindergarten through the first grade, to begin on April 5. The second through fifth grades would begin April 12, followed by the sixth grade and up on April 19.
    • April 19 is the first day of the fourth quarter in the 2020-21 school year at Forest Grove High School.
    • Under the district's initial plan, secondary students weren't scheduled to begin prior to May 1.
  • In preparation for in-person learning, transition days are being provided for teachers and support staff so as to adequately allow for the move from comprehensive distance learning to in-person instruction.
  • Elementary transition days are scheduled for March 29 through March 31, along with subsequent Wednesdays, which currently serve as days for additional help for students and professional development for teachers.
  • Secondary staff preparatory and transition days are scheduled for April 15 and April 16, with April 14 serving as a staff grading/prep day and subsequent Wednesdays also serving as aid for students and teacher development.
  • The Forest Grove Shool District is also using new software, ThoughtExchange, to allow for stakeholders to share ideas, concerns or questions, with the hopes of getting "honest, comprehensive input" from parents, staff, students and the community.
    • The concept brings the ideas of an online survey, a town hall meeting, and online social media interaction together, allowing for participants to confidentially share their thoughts and rate those of others from any device, in the hopes of receiving and prioritizing the wants and needs of all interested parties.
    • You can access ThoughtExchange at my.thoughtexchange.com/#993011072/hub or by going to the Forest Grove School District's website.

Wildfire Recovery Updates

orange smoke hovering above green forest

FEMA Direct Temporary Housing Program

  •         FEMA is licensing-in families in FEMA-constructed group sites, contracting for available pads at commercial parks as well as leasing pads at a state park site.
  •         Currently,  units are being placed on pads leased in Southern Oregon RV Park, Valley of the Rogue State Park (Jackson County) and sites constructed by USACE for FEMA in White City at Willow Estates (Jackson County), Mill City (Linn and Marion Counties) and Lincoln City (Lincoln County.)
  •         As of 7 a.m. Mar. 3, 267 survivor families are approved to receive FEMA Direct Temporary Housing in the five eligible counties: 225 in Jackson County, 13 in Lane County, 15 in Lincoln County, one in Linn County and 13 in Marion County. Currently, 105 survivors and their families have been licensed-in to FEMA-provided temporary housing.
  •         Direct Temporary Housing is provided to survivors for up to 18 months from the date of the disaster declaration (until March 2022).


Disaster Case Management

  •         The State of Oregon has received a federal grant for more than $6.3 million to provide Disaster Case Management services to Oregon citizens affected by the wildfires beginning September 2020. This grant empowers the state to launch a Disaster Case Management Program, enabling support to voluntary, faith-based and non-profit organizations that work with disaster survivors. The state identifies agencies and organizations able to provide services to survivors who have unmet needs caused by the disaster, and who have exhausted their personal resources, insurance, and government benefits.


Survivors are encouraged to report changes in their circumstances to FEMA via the FEMA app or at disasterassistance.gov. Incorrect information slows down the recovery process.


Help Still Available for Oregon Wildfire Survivors

Resources are still available to assist the survivors of last year’s devastating wildfires which affected thousands of Oregon residents. The Oregon Office of Emergency Management and FEMA continue to work together on assistance with housing, property damage, flood insurance, free counseling, pro-bono legal aid and case management.


Free Crisis Counseling is Available: The Safe+Strong Helpline is available for both children and adults who are struggling with stress, anxiety or other disaster-related depression-like symptoms. The website offers free and confidential resources to help wildfire survivors on the journey to recovery. For help, call 800-923-4357 or visit https://www.safestrongoregon.org/wildfire.


Another free counseling resource is the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s (SAMSHA) Disaster Distress Helpline at 800-985-5990 (Spanish Press 2). You can also text “TalkWithUs” to 66746 (for Spanish text “Hablanos” to 66746). This national hotline is toll-free, multilingual, and confidential, offering crisis support to all residents in the United States and its territories.


Disaster Legal Services offers free legal assistance on many wildfire-related legal issues, including denials of FEMA assistance and help with your FEMA appeal. Visit oregondisasterlegalservices.org, or call 800-452-7636 or 503-684-3763, Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. - 5 p.m.


211info is a nonprofit organization funded by state and municipal contracts, foundations, United Ways, donations and community partners in Oregon and Southwest Washington. 211info empowers Oregon and Southwest Washington communities by helping people identify, navigate and connect with the local resources they need. To speak with a community information specialist about resources in your area: call 211 or 866-698-6155; text your zip code to 898211; or email help@211info.org. Representatives are available 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., Monday through Friday.


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

Economic Update

Earlier this week, we released the 2020 edition of our annual private sector job vacancy survey. Statewide, the number of job openings at any given time in 2020 was 22% lower than in 2019. Employers continued hiring in all sectors throughout the COVID-19 pandemic but in spite of high unemployment rates, employers reported difficulty filling about half of their open positions. 


While 2020 was not a typical year for Oregon businesses, most employers are still looking to hire full-time, permanent employees, and about half are looking for employees with previous experience. Leisure, hospitality and other service industries were most likely to close or curtail operations as a result of the pandemic. In the spring, nearly 20% of businesses closed or curtailed operations, but that number dropped to about 6% by fall.


We encourage everyone seeking employment in Oregon to visit oregon.gov/employ and click “Job Seekers” to find resources and support.


Federal Benefits: PUA expansion

Late last week, the Department of Labor (DOL) released rule changes that expand the number of situations in which workers can qualify for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA). Oregon was already providing PUA benefits to folks in those expanded situations—many other states were not.


We are joining informational calls with the U.S. Dept. of Labor as they are scheduled to get more detailed instructions about these changes. As more programs have been created and modified, each additional programmatic change becomes more complex. We are still reviewing some of the more nuanced parts of this new guidance and will provide more information as it is available. 


We do already know that one of the key goals of this change is something we were already doing in Oregon – allowing people to get benefits if they refused to work under conditions that violate required COVID-19 safety measures.


There are some other, very detailed parts to this guidance that we were also already doing, such as allowing people to select more than one COVID-19 impact reason and to show a different COVID-19 impact reason on each weekly claim when filing for benefits.

We will actively update the public, so they do NOT need to call us with questions about the new guidance. We will post updates on Facebook and Twitter, and in our weekly email updates.


To sign up for our weekly email updates, go to unemployment.oregon.gov and under the Quick Links section click the “Sign up for Email Updates” link. Our weekly emails are available in Spanish and English.



Federal Benefits: Expired and Exhausted PUA Claims

On March 3rd, many people received an email letting them know that their PUA benefits have either expired or been exhausted. An example of such an email is attached.

The letters that claimants receive in the mail or as they navigate the online claims systems are often full of jargon and might be difficult to understand. Acting Director Gerstenfeld explained some of those key phrases in the media briefing.

·         Someone can lose eligibility for benefits either because they have received all of the benefits they are eligible for, or because of how much time has passed since they first filed their claim.

·         When we say a person’s benefits are exhausted, it means they have no more benefits available to them because they have received all of the benefits available under that program.

○       In this type of situation, unless they are eligible for some other program, they need to wait and see if Congress passes additional benefit extensions. These folks should continue claiming each week until we receive more information.

●       Expired claim: The maximum length of the claim period has been met. When a claim reaches the one-year mark, we automatically send out communication indicating the claim is expired. Here is what you need to do:

○       If a person is receiving regular UI/PEUC benefits, they need to file a new claim.

○       For people with an active PUA claim, they do NOT need to file a new claim. They just need to keep filing every week for benefits.


Congress must pass, and President Biden must sign, the new stimulus bill before any benefit extensions can be made available. It will then take time for us to update our computer systems with the new benefit extensions—and we may have to wait for federal guidance before we can fully implement those updates.



Federal Benefits: Phase Out Period

We are nearing the end of many of the CAA benefit programs. This week we are sending notices to about 6,000 people who have exhausted their PUA benefits.


Unless additional federal legislation and guidance says otherwise: CAA benefits end for everyone on March 13th—even for those who have not fully “exhausted their benefits.”


There is an exception to that benefits cliff for some people receiving PUA or PEUC benefits. When the CAA extension of benefits comes to an end on March 13th, a “Phase Out” period will provide additional cash assistance to some PUA and PEUC recipients.

●       In order to qualify for the Phase Out Period, a person must:

○       Still have benefits remaining on their PUA or PEUC claim on March 13th (their benefits are not “exhausted”); and

○       File a claim and be paid for benefits for the week ending March 13th.

○       If folks have a positive balance left on their PUA or PEUC claim on March 13th, but do NOT file a weekly claim for benefits on March 13th, then they will NOT be eligible for the phase out period.

●       Approximately 133,000 Oregon workers are receiving PUA and PEUC benefits. Some will lose those benefits on March 13th; others will be able to continue receiving benefits through some or all of the Phase Out period.



LWA Overpayment Notices

This week we began issuing federally-required notices to some people who were overpaid Lost Wages Assistance benefits. The CAA created the ability to waive these overpayments if they were not the fault of the person who received the benefits and if it would be “against equity and good conscience” to pursue recouping those payments.


We are still waiting for guidance from FEMA on the details of their waiver process, but we are including information with the overpayment notices about how to request a waiver. This will let us more quickly resolve those waiver requests once we get more information from FEMA. We encourage people who were overpaid LWA benefits from no fault of their own to request an overpayment waiver.




Our next unemployment webinar is Thursday, March 11 at 1 pm. We will discuss the new guidance regarding PUA benefits, explain the Phase Out period for PUA and PEUC, and share an update on any new federal benefit extensions that may have passed by then.

·         Simultaneous interpretation will be available in Spanish, Vietnamese, Russian and Cantonese.

·         To register for this webinar and to view all of our past webinars, visit unemployment.oregon.gov/webinars.



Helpful Links

Our website is always kept up-to-date with information on our programs.


Other Assistance Updates

cartoon white house with blue dollar sign

Rent Assistance Lottery For Oregon Commercial Tenants Opens March 8

*This article is from JDSUPRAS News. Click the link above to read more.

  • Starting March 8, small business owners in Oregon with 100 or fewer employees and who are behind on their rent can apply for a grant from Business Oregon, the state’s economic development agency. 
    • Grants are available for up to $100,000 per tenant, with no single landlord able to receive more than $3 million. The program is the commercial companion to the residential landlord compensation fund created in December 2020.
  • Approved by the Oregon Legislature’s Emergency Board in January, the grant fund will pay out $100 million in grants in two rounds of $50 million each. Applications for the first round will be accepted until March 22, and grants will be awarded by lottery. The second round of funding will open for applications in late April. Any applicant for the first round that does not receive funding will be automatically entered in the second round lottery.
  • The application requires cooperation between tenants and their landlords. The landlord submits the application, but the application requires information from the tenant to certify eligibility, and ultimately both the landlord and tenant must sign the grant agreement. Grants are available only to private, for-profit businesses headquartered in Oregon and actively registered with the Oregon Secretary of State. The tenant must be open for business or commit to opening for business when applicable COVID restrictions are lifted. The 100-employee limit applies per lease location, not to the employer as a whole, so some relatively large businesses with employees dispersed across multiple locations will still be eligible.
    • For their tenants to be eligible, landlords must not be past due on any taxes, must waive interest and penalties, and must agree not to evict the tenant for six months or enforce eviction rights for any rent default between March 1, 2020 and February 28, 2021.
  • The grant may only be used for past-due rent, not prospective rent, and the total past due rent must be less than the $100,000 maximum available grant. Upon completion of a successful grant application, Business Oregon will pay the grant amount directly to the landlord.
  • Under House Bill 4213 which was signed into law last June, landlords have been prohibited from evicting commercial tenants for non-payment of rent that accrued prior to October 1, 2020. With that prohibition expiring April 1, the state is hopeful that these grants will enable commercial tenants to finally cure those rent defaults and avoid eviction. But it is highly unlikely that $100 million will come close to meeting the demand, so we should still expect commercial eviction activity around the state to increase starting April 1.

husband and wife holding small child and smiling

Oregonians can get 2021 health insurance until May 15

  • If you don’t qualify for the Oregon Health Plan and don’t get health insurance through your job, now through Saturday, May 15, is an important time. If you missed open enrollment, this is an excellent time to get health coverage for 2021.
  • Use the Marketplace’s window shopping feature at OregonHealthCare.gov/WindowShop to find out:
    • How can I save money on health insurance?
    • What would my health plan cover?
    • Once I know what I can afford, what’s next?
  • OregonHealthCare.gov is the online home of the Oregon Health Insurance Marketplace, a part of state government. It is the state-level partner of HealthCare.gov, 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 OregonHealthCare.gov/GetHelp.
    • For more information, visit OregonHealthCare.gov or call 855-268-3767 (toll-free).

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


collections of purple flowers sprouting from the grass on a sunny day

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