Delta Difficulties, Redistricting Updates, and Advocating for Refugees


Respect for Health Care Professionals and Kids

Oregon is deep in the midst of another wave of COVID-19 infections, almost completely driven by unvaccinated individuals that have allowed the virus to multiply and surge across the state. The highly contagious Delta variant is pushing hospital systems to the brink of capacity.

Last week, Governor Brown announced a statewide outdoor mask requirement for public spaces, which began on Friday, August 27. You can read the Governor's press release at this link.  

As you can see from the data, at this point, this is largely a pandemic of the unvaccinated - check out the graphic below for a powerful illustration of infections in one group of Oregon hospitals. 


This avoidable surge is disappointing on so many levels. Its taking lives, postponing surgeries, and allowing space for new variants of the virus to potentially evolve. It's pulling hundreds of national guard members away from other responsibilities, challenging businesses that are trying to recover, putting workers at risk and threatening younger students that remain ineligible for vaccination as they prepare to return to school.

If you remain unvaccinated and do not have a medically legitimate reason to not get one of the COVID-19 vaccines, please consider the myriad human costs of your decision. Our heroic health care workers have been through so much in the last year and a half - they deserve everyone's respect and support. You can find comprehensive resources on vaccination and best practices for a variety of activities at the Oregon Health Authority's COVID-19 website. The Pfizer vaccine was recently granted full approval from the US Food and Drug Administration. The Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines are expected to receive this gold standard of scientific approval in the near future as well.

Last week, my colleague State Representative Lisa Reynolds (who also serves her community as a practicing pediatrician) wrote an excellent newsletter update on the state of the pandemic. As a father worried about my kids returning to school, I found the sections on COVID and school safety to be especially valuable.

I sincerely hope that together we can stabilize the situation and avoid the severe pandemic fall and winter that we endured last year. We all have a role to play in protecting one another. Please reach out if you have any questions. My staff and I will work with you to find answers.     

Oregon Emergency Rental Assistance Program


Even as the economy recovers, we know that many Oregonians are still struggling to repay past due rent and are concerned about eviction. The legislature passed legislation that provides eviction protections for renters in Oregon, but the safeguards are not automatic. To be protected from eviction you must apply for rental assistance, and if you get a nonpayment notice of eviction, you'll need to give your proof of application for rental assistance to your landlord.

These steps will stop eviction for at least 60 days while your application is processed.

Apply or learn more here.

Redistricting Updates

The new schedule for the September Redistricting Public Hearings can be found below. Meetings will be held virtually and organized to hear from residents of each current congressional district.

Oregonians can participate by signing up for video or phone testimony, uploading written testimony, or by submitting a map for consideration by September 7. 

On Friday, September 3, the Redistricting Committees will release draft Legislative and Congressional maps to the public during a joint meeting - you can tune in at 8:00 a.m.

Wednesday, September 8:

  • 8:00 a.m. - 11:00 a.m. (residents of Congressional District 1)
  • 1:00 p.m. - 4:00 p.m. (residents of Congressional District 2)
  • 5:30 p.m. - 8:30 p.m. (residents of Congressional District 3)

Thursday, September 9:

  • 8:00 a.m. - 11:00 a.m. (residents of Congressional District 4)
  • 1:00 p.m. - 4:00 p.m. (residents of Congressional District 5)
  • 5:30 p.m. - 8:30 p.m. (residents of Congressional District 1)

Friday, September 10:

  • 8:00 a.m. - 11:00 a.m. (residents of Congressional District 2)
  • 1:00 p.m. - 4:00 p.m. (residents of Congressional District 3)
  • 5:30 p.m. - 8:30 p.m. (residents of Congressional District 4)

Monday, September 13:

  • 8:00 a.m. - 11:00 a.m. (residents of Congressional District 5)
  • 1:00 p.m. - 4:00 p.m. (statewide: open to residents of any district)
  • 5:30 p.m. - 8:30 p.m. (statewide: open to residents of any district)

Find your congressional district here (enter your address in the top-right corner and click the “Congress” tab):

For more information on redistricting or how to participate, visit


Advocating for Afghan Refugees

Recently, I was honored to join many of my colleagues in the legislature on a letter calling on President Biden to lift refugee admission caps and urging Governor Brown to help refugees resettle in Oregon. Thank you to State Senator Kayse Jama and State Representative Khanh Pham for leading this timely effort to assist families fleeing violence in Afghanistan. Learn more about the issue and what we're doing in Oregon in this OPB article.

As we move forward to implement Senate Bill 778, we are creating an Oregon that is welcoming and provides opportunity for immigrants and refugees seeking a better life. This work is one of my top priorities and I will continue to keep you updated in the months ahead.

If you'd like to assist with the efforts to help refugees from Afghanistan (and around the globe), there are a number of great international and local organizations that you can support:

Additional organizations assisting in Afghanistan are profiled in this New York Times article, and this Washington Post article.

Heading Back to School

My daughter recently departed to begin her college journey at one of my alma mater - George Washington University - in the nation's capital. My son will soon start at Oregon State University. My other two children begin in-person high school today.

As schools across the state start to open again, I wish all of our students the very best in their studies and activities. Thank you to our amazing teachers, administrators, and classified staff who are working so hard to follow public health best practices and keep our communities healthy.

Let's take care of ourselves and our community and continue moving forward with health and safety in mind.

As always, please let me know if you need any assistance. My office and I will work to connect you with resources and get your questions answered as quickly as possible.    


Senate Majority Leader Rob Wagner
Senate District 19

email: I phone: 503-986-1719
address: 900 Court St NE, S-223, Salem, OR, 97301