Wildfire updates and a look back at my 2021 Session bills.

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Dear Friends and Neighbors 

The Legislative Session may be over but the work doesn't stop.  I've had a busy week that's included discussions and planning for the Interstate Bridge Committee, conversations regarding our Transportation systems and congestion management, and a focus on Education issues, including budget follow-ups, summer learning objectives, and the reopening of schools as it relates to student success.  But my favorite part was a great Town Hall last Thursday with many of you!  I am looking forward to the weekend and some rest, but I am excited and energized by the work ahead.

This week's newsletter includes updates about the Delta variant and it's spread in Oregon (cases are up 195% in the last 14 days), and about where you can get a vaccine, which is the best way to protect against the increased spread.  I have also included updates on Wildfire Season and how you can protect yourselves against the smoke that will be coming our way.  Finally, I have included a review of my primary bills that passed this Session.  I am proud of the work that we did, including many bills which had bipartisan support, and that the passage of these bills will have meaningful impacts on the lives of Oregonians. 

Town Hall



Monday afternoon, Tuesday, and Wednesday I was fortunate enough to work from the beach because with this new style of working, we are able to be in the office, at home, or with family and still work regular days.  For example, when your granddaughter brings her fiancé and his family to lunch, you can have a meeting until noon and still enjoy time with the new in-laws.

Rep. McLain

Happy National Ice Cream Month!

Happy Ice Cream Month


National Ice Cream Month is an opportunity to brag on our great state of Oregon, where the best ice cream comes from!  Whether you're enjoying a cone of Tillamook's Marionberry Pie or a scoop of Umpqua's Rocky Road, take time to celebrate one of our sweetest observances. 


2021 Legislative Session - Bill Review

cartoon bill

Yes, this was a long and hard session, but it was also a very successful one.  I was personally able to get seven of my primary bills passed and I am proud of that accomplishment.  Most of the bills had strong bipartisan support and all of them provide critical assistance for, or attention to, on-going problems.  Bipartisanship was a major theme this Session as 51% of all bills passed with unanimous support and 94.8% were bipartisan.  Please continue reading for a summary of my primary bills:


HB 3007/SB 551 - Part-Time Faculty Healthcare Bill

This bill provides 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.  Senate Bill 551 (identical to House Bill 3007) has been one of my top priority bills this Session.  I have worked long hours with Senator Michael Dembrow, and stakeholders like the Oregon Education Association, American Federation of Teachers, and Oregon's community colleges and universities to ensure that we can provide healthcare for our hard working part-time faculty members.  These dedicated educators often travel hours between jobs, trying to cobble together enough classes for full time work.  They make very low wages, despite often working 50+ hours a week.  These individuals are doing essential work, and they deserve affordable health insurance, and thanks to the passage of this bill, they will finally get it.


HB 2985 - Transportation Accessibility Bill  

This bill directs the Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) to ensure that membership on its advisory committees reflect the racial, ethnic, and ability composition of Oregon as determined by the most recent U.S. Census. ODOT operates a number of advisory committees to provide input to both ODOT and the Oregon Transportation Commission on a variety of issues and projects related to transportation.  Passage of this bill ensures that disability rights advocates will sit on those committees and ensures that the voices of Oregon’s disabled community are considered in decisions on public transportation.


HB 3254 - Continued Funding for Oak Grove Academy Bill 

The Oregon Department of Education currently funds students in certain treatment programs through a Long Term Care and Treatment (LTCT) grant-in-aid program. Oak Grove Academy in Washington County no longer meets the eligibility requirements for the grant-in-aid program. House Bill 3254 A allows Oak Grove Academy to continue receiving the funds that they need to operate.  Oak Grove Academy provides a high quality educational experience to students, while simultaneously providing comprehensive crisis and preventative mental health care.  This residential program serves students with co-occurring mental health and developmental disabilities. It offers a safe environment to students who may be unsafe in typical school environments. And the program serves students locally in their own communities and has transitioned many students back to their old neighborhood schools successfully.  Our community is lucky to have such an important and successful program and I am proud that House Bill 3254 continues to fund it.


HB 2835 - Benefits Navigators Bill

This bill requires each community college and public university to hire a benefits navigator to assist students in determining their eligibility and applying for federal, state and local benefits programs.  This will mean that students who are faced with hunger, childcare issues, lack of housing, etc will be able to get support on campus in navigating the benefits available to them.


HB 3185 - Ditch Fix Bill

House Bill 3185 provides statutory language specifying that material removed from traditionally maintained channels during maintenance activities cannot be placed on or in undisturbed wetlands, either temporarily or permanently.  For background, in 2019 the Legislature successfully passed House Bill 2437, which established the Agricultural Channel Maintenance Program.  The program created a process for authorizing ditch cleaning that is workable for farmers while ensuring that ecological values associated with ditches are maintained and protected.  However, under HB 2437, it could be interpreted that the program allowed for the placement of materials removed from traditionally maintained channels to be placed in wetlands.  It was not the intent of the program to allow placement of material in undisturbed wetlands, either temporarily or permanently.  The intent was to limit placement of material to farmed or previously impacted wetlands.  House Bill 3185 is therefore a simple yet important clarification to ensure that the program honors the ecological values associated with ditches by prohibiting the placement of materials in undisturbed wetlands.  The maintenance of agricultural drainage ditches is critical to maintaining healthy functional farmland in the wet parts of the state and this bill ensures that protection.


HB 2953 - Community-based Structured Housing Bill

This bill modifies the definition of "community-based structured housing" as congregate housing distinct from residential care and publicly supported housing. It designates the Oregon Health Authority as sole regulatory agency overseeing registration, operation, complaints, and violations.  Passage of this bill means that operators of community-based structured housing will receive oversight by the Oregon Health Authority to ensure that residents are getting the type of services that they need.


HB 2954 - Charter School Weighting Bill

This bill allows public charter schools to implement a weighted lottery that favors historically underserved students when the number of applications for enrollment exceeds the capacity of a program, class, grade level or building. It allows public charter schools to give enrollment preference to students who were enrolled in public preschool or pre-kindergarten programs operated by public charter schools and to students who are at risk because of economic or academic disadvantages that require special services or assistance. This bill will ensure that underserved students will have increased access to quality educational choices.

Vaccine Information

Beat COVID-19 at a fully accessible vaccination event

NW Disability Support (NWDS), the community-based organization that produced Fighting COVID, has put out a second comic called Beating COVIDBeating COVID features the story of new super heroes, the Super Vaccines!

The comic is intended to address the need of having appropriate materials created for children and adults of all ages that can be used by educators, professionals and parents in their practice.

You can get a free comic along with a vaccine at two vaccination events sponsored by NWDS. The events will be held on July 21 and 28 from 3 to 7 p.m. at Multnomah Learning Academy, 22565 NE Halsey St in Fairview.

The events feature the following:

  • Open to everyone 12 and older.
  • No registration required.
  • Drive up or go inside for vaccination.
  • Disability accessible and sensory friendly.
  • ASL and Spanish interpretation will be available on site.
  • Free masks, sanitizer, tamales and a Beating COVID comic

If you have questions, please contact:

English: Angela Frome at afrome@nwdsa.org or 503-238-0522

Spanish: Maria Rangel at mrangel@nwdsa.org o al 503-262-4029

Cartoon child standing on a vial of vaccine. The vial is holdinga sword and shield. Super vaccinated in comic letters above the child.

Washington County Logo

Washington Co. Vaccine Information:

Every Oregonian age 12 and up is eligible for a vaccine. Twelve to 14 year-olds must be accompanied by either a parent, guardian or someone designated by the parent. If someone other than a parent or guardian accompanies the 12 to 14-year-old, they will need to provide proof of parental/guardian consent. 

Proof of consent is either:

  • A signed consent form (available in English and Spanish on the All4OR.org site) 
  • A written or typed note that includes the parent/guardians name, relationship to the young adult, their date of birth, a statement saying they consent to young adult being vaccinated and the parent/guardian signature.

Fifteen-year-olds do not need to be accompanied, and do not require parental consent in the state of Oregon.

NEW! Washington County's Mobile Vaccination Van: Our van is traveling the county to make it easier for people to get the vaccine close to where they live or shop. Find the schedule here.

Beaverton Resource Center: Most Fridays from July 16 through September 24. See the flier for exact dates and times. Pfizer for ages 12 and older. Located at 13565 SW Walker Road.

Washington County Logo
vaccine information for youth


Virginia Garcia Memorial Health Centers: All vaccination events are open to the community, do not require an appointment, and do not require you to be a Virginia Garcia patient. You do not have to have insurance in order to receive a vaccine. If you have insurance, please bring your card with you. Remember, vaccines are free!

Virginia Garcia vaccine information


Local pharmacies: As of April 27, 2021, pharmacies are required to offer second/boost doses to people who received their first dose somewhere else.

How much does the vaccine cost?  Vaccines are provided free of charge to the recipient. If you have health insurance, you may be asked to provide that information so the vaccinator can bill your insurance an administration fee.


Vaccination Progress 

US Vaccination progress
Oregon vaccinations by county
WashCo Vaccine Info

COVID-19 Updates

National Numbers: 

  • Confirmed Cases: 34,159,723
  • Deaths: 608,717
  • These national numbers come from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.  You can view their national and state by state data here.
national covid data


Oregon Status Report: 

  • Oregon now has 213,339 total cases (confirmed and presumptive) of COVID-19.
  • Today we have 318 new confirmed and presumptive cases, and 5 new deaths
  • A total of 2,863 Oregonians have died from COVID-19 (previous daily case updates from OHA here)
  • Washington County has 27,330 confirmed cases, including 257 deaths.  
  • The Oregon Health Authority provides a Public Health Indicators Dashboard to enable communities across Oregon to monitor COVID-19 in the state. The dashboard, which will be updated weekly on Thursdays, provides a transparent report that presents complex epidemiological data in an interactive, easy-to-understand way on a state and county level
Oregon covid numbers
Cases per capita in Oregon


With cases increasing in Oregon, consider taking precautions

You may be wondering why cases are increasing in Oregon. As we’ve seen across the world, cases caused by the Delta variant are spreading in unvaccinated communities.  

Here’s what you need to know about the spread of COVID-19: 

  • Vaccination remains the safest and most effective way to prevent serious illness from COVID-19 and all of its variants. 
  • If you are fully vaccinated, you are well protected from COVID, including the Delta variant.
  • If you are not vaccinated, make a plan to get the vaccine, and take precautions like wearing a mask indoors and in outdoor crowded places until you are vaccinated.  
  • Ongoing precautions such as wearing face coverings and maintaining physical distance are still important for families with children under 12, are not yet eligible for vaccination.  

Some people have questions or concerns about the vaccines. If you haven’t gotten vaccinated and are unsure if it’s the right choice for you, speak to a trusted doctor, pharmacist or other health care professional. 

If you are 12 or older, visit OHA’s Find a COVID-19 Vaccine in Oregon webpage to schedule your vaccine appointment today. 


Delta Variant

Wildfire Updates and Resources

Fire near Forest Grove

Air quality advisory for central southern Oregon extended

The Oregon Department of Environmental Quality extended an air quality advisory Wednesday for eastern Klamath County and central Lake County due to smoke from the Bootleg Fire. 

Smoke levels can change rapidly depending on weather. Check current conditions on the Oregon Smoke Information Blog, DEQ’s Air Quality Index, or by downloading the free OregonAIR app on your smartphone. 

The graphic below has tips for cleaner indoor air, or you can read more about it here.  

Clean Air guidelines



Some symptoms can be caused by both wildfire smoke exposure and COVID-19

Some symptoms, like cough, difficulty breathing, runny nose, headache and fatigue can be caused by both wildfire smoke exposure and COVID-19. Learn about symptoms of COVID-19

Covid versus Wildfire smoke symptoms



Protecting health during wildfires and smoke

Today, Gabriela Goldfarb, manager of the OHA’s Environmental Public Health section, joined Governor Kate Brown and other Oregon leaders to address the impact of the early wildfire season.

Risks to health 

“We are always concerned about smoke exposure for people with heart or lung disease, older adults, children, pregnant people, communities of color, people living in poverty and houseless people,” said Goldfarb. “All these groups are at higher risk of harmful health effects from wildfire smoke exposure.” 

Exposure to smoke and other forms of air pollution not only increases the risk of contracting infectious respiratory disease, it can also add to the severity of the infections and worsen any underlying chronic respiratory conditions.  

Actions people can take to protect themselves 

Plan ahead:  

  • Make sure you have your medications. 
  • Purchase air filtration devices or filters for indoor ventilation systems. 
  • Make your own DIY air cleaner with a box fan and filters.  
  • Make arrangements ahead of time to stay with family or friends in another part of the state. 
  • Learn more about what to do when smoke levels are high.  

If you are in a place with high smoke levels:  

  • Stay inside, if possible, with windows and doors closed. 
  • Avoid vacuuming, burning candles or other activities that increase indoor air pollution. 
  • Operate your HVAC system or air filtration device. 
  • And avoid strenuous outdoor activity. 

What to know about wearing a mask:  

  • Smoke particles are very small, so bandanas and similar cloth masks aren’t effective to protect your lungs from wildfire smoke.  
  • N95 or P100 respirators approved by NIOSH may offer protection when properly fitted and worn. Masks won’t work for everyone, especially children. People with heart or lung conditions should consult their doctor before wearing a respirator.  

Stay informed 

Get the latest air quality data from the Oregon Smoke Information blog and on Oregon DEQ Air Quality Index map

A recording of today's live-streamed press conference is available on YouTube. Please note the video starts at the 17:43 mark. 

A recording of a Spanish language translation is available on OHA's Facebook page.

More information about protecting your health from smoke is available at healthoregon.org/wildfires.  

Wildfire preparedness



Governor Kate Brown Provides Wildfire Response Updates, Urges Oregonians to be Prepared for Fire Season

Governor Kate Brown today provided an update on the state’s ongoing interagency response to wildfires across Oregon. She was joined in the briefing by Department of Forestry Fire Chief Doug Grafe, State Fire Marshal Mariana Ruiz-Temple, Major General Michael Stencel of the Oregon National Guard, Office of Emergency Management Director Andrew Phelps, and Gabriela Goldfarb, Environmental Public Health Manager at the Oregon Health Authority. Throughout fire season, regular updates for media on active wildfires in Oregon will be provided.

“It’s shaping up to be another difficult wildfire season. And unfortunately, we’re responding to new fires as we continue to recover from last year’s devastating fire season,” said Governor Brown. “The good news is there’s a lot of excellent work happening on the ground to protect Oregonians, to protect our homes, and our land.

“After last year, what is very clear is that no corner of our state is immune to fire. On the West Coast, and here in Oregon, the urgent and dangerous climate crisis has exacerbated conditions on the ground. We’re seeing extensive drought conditions across the state, with 19 counties in drought emergencies. Unprecedented heat waves. And fire seasons that are arriving earlier, coming on faster and lasting for longer.

“We must be prepared. Each and every one of us.

“Last year’s historic fire season taught us that being prepared can truly be the difference between life and death. Being prepared is also one of the best ways you can help our frontline firefighters do their job.”

Additional Materials

  • A copy of the Governor's prepared remarks from today's press conference is available here.

  • More information is available at wildfire.oregon.gov. Oregonians can sign up for local emergency alerts at ORAlert.gov.


Wildfire Recovery Resources

OEM has put together this list of contacts to help speed up the process of replacing these documents:

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 ResourcesOregon 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 UpdatesFEMA has provided several different Fact Sheets and resources for accessing benefits, determining eligibility and avoiding scams.



Around Washington County

Washington County Fair Logo


We have always prided ourselves in being your BFF: BIG FAIR FUN. For 2021, this BFF means something slightly different: BACK FOR FUN. With the uncertainty of the COVID-19 Oregon Health Authority requirements for the majority of the months leading up to this summer, we couldn't plan a Washington County Fair for most of the year because we didn't know if producing one would be possible. The decision to move forward with some sort of event was made in April, and while it might not look entirely like the Washington County Fair you are used to due to our short planning-period, we ARE be BACK FOR FUN in 2021, July 23 through August 1, with the following hours of operation and still with FREE ADMISSION to the Fair:

  • Friday, July 23 – 5:00 p.m. to 11:00 p.m.
  • Saturday, July 24 – 10:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m.
  • Sunday, July 25 – 10:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m.
  • Monday, July 26 – 5:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. FREE PARKING ON THIS DATE
  • Tuesday, July 27 - 5:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. FREE PARKING ON THIS DATE
  • Wednesday, July 28 - 5:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. FREE PARKING ON THIS DATE
  • Thursday, July 29- 5:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. FREE PARKING ON THIS DATE
  • Friday, July 30 – 5:00 p.m. to 11:00 p.m.
  • Saturday, July 31 - 10:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m.
  • Sunday, August 1 - 10:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m.


Scoggins Dam upgrade delayed

This article is from the Forest Grove News-Times 

Cost estimates up to 40% higher than expected have delayed an expected decision on the future of Scoggins Dam and Henry Hagg Lake.

Clean Water Services, which manages wastewater and stormwater for the urban areas in Washington County, says the dam needs safety upgrades to make it seismically safe and to meet the community's long-term needs.

"Doing nothing is not an option," the agency's project website says.

The three options for upgrading the dam are modifying the dam in its current location, raising and modifying the dam or adding a new dam downstream. Currently, the estimates range for the options range from $770 million to $1.2 billion, according to a spring newsletter about the project.

Hagg Lake and Scoggins Dam provide water for nearly 400,000 residents and irrigation for 17,000 acres of cropland, according to the website.

"It's a safe structure right now, and it operates safely every year, but it can't withstand a Cascadia subduction zone earthquake," said Tom VanderPlaat, water project manager and strategic business associate for Clean Water Services.

The project team got the higher cost estimates in March 2020. Around the same time, the coronavirus pandemic reached Oregon. Between the pandemic and the costlier-than-expected projections, their plans changed.

"Because we got assessments that were above what we anticipated they would be, it sent us both — (the U.S. Bureau of) Reclamation and ourselves — back to the drawing board, due to just the ability to fund that large of a project," VanderPlaat said.

Most funding for the upgrades will come from the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, which is working with Clean Water Services on the project. Local partners that share the water in the lake will repay 15% of the seismic improvement costs, according to the project website. These include Tualatin Valley Irrigation District, Clean Water Services, Lake Oswego Corporation and the cities of Hillsboro, Beaverton and Forest Grove.

Overall, more economic and financial research, analysis and vetting is needed before choosing an option for the dam, especially given the high price tag.

The project team has already done preliminary environmental analyses identifying some environmental impacts, but they haven't yet gotten to the point of deciding how to mitigate for and adjust to those impacts.

Ashley Short with Tualatin Riverkeepers, a community-based organization that protects and restores the Tualatin River watershed, said she has been kept up to date with updates on the project, even though it's so early in the process since the agencies have basically had to go back to the beginning.

"We are supportive of them taking a pause and looking into more information, because it is a lot of money and a really important project," Short said. "So, it's important that we do a lot of studying and analysis to ensure that whatever investment happens in the basin is going to be effective."

Each option for the dam is going to have different environmental impacts, Short said, but some of them might include inundating oak habitat and elk grazing areas and affecting fish habitat and activity. Flooding could also introduce contaminants, since there is a lumber mill in that inundation area, she said.

Once environmental impacts are fully considered and an option for the upgraded dam is decided, construction on the project will likely not begin before 2028, according to the project newsletter. And once it does begin, construction could take up to eight years.


Summer Reading!


Summer Reading for Kids & Teens

Visit your local WCCLS library’s website to learn how you can join Summer Reading and earn a free book starting June 1.

Child Tax Credit Payments are here!

The American Rescue Plan increased the Child Tax Credit from $2,000 per child to $3,000 per child for children over the age of six and from $2,000 to $3,600 for children under the age of six, and raised the age limit from 16 to 17. All working families will get the full credit if they make up to $150,000 for a couple or $112,500 for a family with a single parent (also called Head of Household).

children's tax credits

Additional Resources

Employers and Employees

The following list of resources is from Oregon’s Secretary of State’s Office. The fastest way to get in touch with the SOS team is by emailing business.sos@oregon.gov, using the “Need Help?” button found on most state agency websites or visiting www.oregon.gov/smallbusiness.

Education Links

Local Government

Utilities Assistance

Food and Housing Assistance



Oregon Health Authority


Oregon Coast


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