Celebrating Juneteenth and Updates on the I-5 Bridge

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Dear Friends and Neighbors,

This week I am working remotely as I attend the 2022 National Speech and Debate Tournament as both a coach and a judge.  For nearly 100 years, the National Speech and Debate Association has built a platform for youth voices which allows the opportunity for high school students to join together to use the power of their words for change. 

Being a Speech and Debate coach for over 40 years has been one of the highlights of my career.  I have had the opportunity to teach students the incredibly valuable skills of critical thinking and public speaking.  I've observed future generations of leaders, like House Speaker Dan Rayfield, find their voice and speaking style and use those skills to go on to amazing life achievements.  This year, I have the privilege of coaching Ishaan Sinha from Glencoe High School.  He's an amazing young man and I hope you will join me in congratulating him on this major accomplishment!

Ishaan Sinha and Rep. McLain


Throughout the year, more than 6,000 students qualify for the chance to have their message heard in front of thousands. It all culminates in the National Speech & Debate Tournament. With 24 different competitive events, the National Tournament is the pinnacle of public speaking for speech and debate competitors from around the globe!

Speech and Debate 2022






On Sunday, June 19th we commemorate the emancipation of enslaved peoples in the U.S. and celebrate the dignity, humanity, and contributions made by Black Americans.

Juneteenth commemorates the emancipation of enslaved peoples in the U.S., while also celebrating the dignity, freedom and contributions made by Black Americans. During the 2021 Legislative Session, we passed HB 2168, which formally establishes Juneteenth as a state holiday here in Oregon.  This year, Oregon's official holiday falls on Monday, June 20th.

The first Juneteenth celebrations began in Texas in 1866 where Black communities gathered for parades, cookouts, prayer gatherings, historical and cultural readings, as well as musical performances. In 1980 Texas officially made Juneteenth an official holiday.

In 1945, Clara Peoples helped introduced Juneteenth to Oregon during her work break, celebrating the day at the Vanport shipyards. Peoples and Black Oregonians have made long-lasting contributions to Oregon’s history and cultural legacy that have led us to this moment.

As we celebrate our first official Juneteenth holiday in Oregon, it coincides with the 50th Anniversary of the Portland Juneteenth Parade!  Join the festivities this year:

50th Annual Juneteenth Oregon Event: Oregon's biggest event is the 50th Annual Juneteenth Oregon Event, which kicks off on June 18 with a parade in North and Northeast Portland, starting at 11 a.m. Portland Fire Chief Sara Boone will be the grand marshal, and PDXJazz is a sponsor. The festivities continue on June 19, with a festival scheduled from noon-7 p.m., complete with live music and local vendors.

Juneteenth Celebrations PDX




I-5 Bridge Logo


Responding to IBR Program Myths 

This past month, the IBR program discussed the recommended Modified Locally Preferred Alternative with legislators and local agency partner boards and councils. We addressed many great questions and dispelled some commonly held myths about the program. Below is a snapshot of some of the facts shared most recently. Check out the IBR website for more answers to frequently asked questions. 

Myth: Including light rail requires a lower bridge height, thus restricting the navigation clearance for vessels that use the river to transport goods. 

Fact: A combination of factors contributes to limitations of the bridge height, including protected air space; providing access/connections to SR-14, downtown Vancouver and Hayden Island; as well as providing appropriate grades for all transportation modes, including freight and active transportation. The standard grade of decline for freight to descend safely is more restrictive than the standard grade for light rail. It is important to identify a highway grade that is safe for all modes. Ultimately, the U.S. Coast Guard determines bridge height and is expected to issue a permit to the IBR program prior to construction. The program is working closely with the agency and will engage with any potentially affected river users to avoid, minimize, or mitigate impacts.

Myth: The IBR program will do nothing to improve freight mobility. 

Fact: Improving freight mobility is one of the key objectives of the IBR program. Consistent and continued coordination with the Ports of Portland and Vancouver, as well as other major freight interests provide important feedback that will continue to shape the program outcomes. The recommended Modified LPA aims to improve freight mobility through interchange design improvements, integration of ramp-to-ramp connections (auxiliary lanes), extension of light rail across the river, and improved bicycle and pedestrian facilities. Interchange improvements and auxiliary lanes can help freight move through the corridor safely and more efficiently compared to current conditions. Extending light rail across the river and improving active transportation options will promote mode shift for travelers currently using single-occupancy vehicles. With fewer cars on the road, additional space to merge safely, and thoughtful design considerations, freight can experience improved travel times and reliability. The proposed improvements will be thoroughly analyzed through the upcoming environmental review process to ensure they meet freight mobility objectives.


Upcoming Bi-State Meeting on the I-5 Bridge:

This Friday, June 17th, I will be attending the next meeting between Oregon and Washington Legislators on the Interstate 5 Bridge Replacement Program.  The committee will continue discussion on the Modified LPA recommendation.  In addition, the program manager, Greg Johnson, will answer questions from Legislators and a public comment option will be available.

Friday, June 17th at 9:00 am - watch it live or find it archived here


Rep. McLain

I-5 Bridge Op-Ed by Representative McLain

This week I had the opportunity to write an editorial on the I-5 Bridge Replacement process, which was printed in several Pamplin papers, including the Forest Grove News-Times.  You can read the editorial online here, and it is re-printed below for your convenience.


Rep. Susan McLain: We 'have a responsibility ... to be wise stewards of the money that is entrusted to the program.'

As co-chair of the Interstate 5 Bridge Committee, I have the responsibility of working on a bi-state piece of our transportation system.

The I-5 bridge connects not just Oregon and Washington but serves as a principal trade route from Canada to Mexico. This vital connection must be updated for resiliency, safety and functionality.

Our focus as a committee is to produce a safe multi-modal replacement facility that serves the West Coast and local communities.

Planning, designing and building a multibillion-dollar mega-project over the course of a decade is a complex undertaking that must balance a number of differing priorities while accounting for numerous technical considerations.

This is certainly the case with the Interstate Bridge Replacement (IBR) program, the bi-state effort to replace the Interstate Bridge over the Columbia River connecting Portland and Vancouver. While the technical aspects of such a project are demanding in and of themselves, what's arguably even more challenging is predicting the final details.

It's certainly understandable that there are questions about how this project will be funded. Those of us who serve in public office have a responsibility to taxpayers to be wise stewards of the money that is entrusted to the program.

It is the will of the governors and legislative leadership in both states that the IBR program maximize existing work from the previous project to achieve efficient decision making. We did not start from scratch, but are updating and improving upon past work that remains valid.

Having presented its recommendations for a Modified Locally Preferred Alternative (LPA) in early May, the IBR program is still in the conceptual design phase, or as program administrator Greg Johnson has said, at about the 2% point in overall design. This makes it appropriate that the current cost estimate is based on broad concepts with an inflation factor added.

The Modified LPA identifies some of the foundational elements of a multimodal corridor solution that will be further studied.

While the Modified LPA does not represent the final project that will ultimately be built, it is a key step in being able to move forward into more detailed program work that will allow for more in-depth conversations and decisions. This work will occur as part of the federal environmental review process, which will include many opportunities moving forward for people to have their voices heard.

This deeper dive will include determining details such as bridge configuration, transit station locations, right of way needs and appraisals, urban design elements and more. As more and more detail is determined, the program will be able to continue to refine cost estimates.

There have also been requests for the IBR program to conduct an investment grade traffic analysis before proceeding further into the design process.

An investment grade traffic study is a particular tool used to display to potential bond holders the viability of tolling to satisfy bond debt. The program will be doing numerous traffic analyses during this NEPA process to better understand traffic flows and projections, but spending the resources to complete this specific study now would be putting the cart before the horse.

An investment grade traffic study is conducted close to the time of tolling implementation to provide confidence to potential bond holders that the revenue assumptions are accurate. Tolling is currently estimated to begin in late 2025 or early 2026, pending legislative authorization and rate setting.

At an estimated cost in the range of $1.5-$2 million, an investment grade analysis would be an unnecessary and ill-informed expenditure at this juncture, given that it would have to be repeated at a more appropriate time.

We know that controlling costs for a mega-project like the IBR program will require many different strategies to account for contingencies such as market factors that cannot be controlled or completely anticipated. We expect that the program will be diligent in adopting best practices such as federally required workshops to help identify cost escalation risks; identifying appropriate delivery methods; constant refining of cost estimates as new design information is identified and industry trends are tracked; the use of appropriate contract incentives; material choices, industry reviews, appropriate inspection and oversight and many more.

Ultimately, it is important to remember that the IBR program is working through a dynamic and ongoing process that will continue to involve the community and stakeholders every step of the way. We must keep moving forward on this critical infrastructure improvement to get to a multimodal corridor solution that meets the complex needs of this bi-state region now and for future generations.




Congrats to Graduates!

Happy Graduation to our local Seniors!

I want to extend my sincere congratulations to all of our wonderful 2022 graduates celebrating the end of their undergraduate careers at Pacific University and all of our high school Seniors in the area!  

As a former teacher, I understand and appreciate all of the time, hard work, and dedication you all have put into your studies. Your academic careers have been marked by a novel and unpredictable set of challenges due to the pandemic, which were not always ideal and convenient. I am so impressed by your strong persistence and admirable ability to adapt and excel during these unprecedented times. This is a challenging goal, and I'm inspired to learn of your successful achievement. 

This marks the end of a chapter and the start of new beginnings in education, the workforce and beyond. With this accomplishment, you have secured a bright future for yourself, and with that, a bright future for Oregon. I am very proud of you all and I am excited for your future contributions to Oregon’s educated workforce.

A very special congratulations to my granddaughter, Aubrey McLain, who also graduated from Liberty High School last week!  I am so proud of you and all that you have accomplished and I can't wait to see what your bright future brings!

Congratulations Graduates



Chehalem Ridge Nature Park Now Open!

Chehalem Ridge Nature Park provides plenty of opportunities to view wildlife and take in scenery, whether you’re walking, off-road bicycling or riding horseback. Featuring 1,260 acres of diverse habitat and wildlife – from old Oregon white oaks to Pacific madrone trees to shrubby habitat where deer, coyotes and birds live – this gem is just 15 minutes south of Forest Grove and is the largest Metro park on the west side of greater Portland.

Join Metro this Friday for the Grand Opening Celebration

Chehalem Ridge Park Opening



Summer Bike Camp comes to Forest Grove and Hillsboro

Saddle Up Summer Bike Camps are directed primarily toward youth ages 8-13. They are week-long day camps where the campers learn to ride safely on streets, do minor mechanical maintenance on their bikes, and do lots of riding and have tons of fun. The goal is to create lifelong cyclists because of the fun and skills they learned at camp.

Visit WashCo Bikes for more information and to register!

Summer Bike Camp




Where can I get a vaccine or booster in Washington County?

All of the major health systems are providing COVID-19 vaccinations and boosters.  You can use this CDC tool to figure out when to get your booster. 

vaccine graphic


Washington County Vaccine Team: The team is in the community five days a week providing vaccinations at schools, shelters, and other locations. These are walk-in clinics. No appointment, ID, or insurance is required. This schedule lists public clinics only. We are now giving additional boosters at these clinics. 

In-home vaccinations: Are you or a loved one unable to get to a vaccine clinic because of a disability or other physical or mental health barrier? See if you qualify for a free in-home vaccination by calling 503-846-8123, emailing us or filling out this form.

Tektronix: This is a walk-up clinic operated by Oregon Health Authority. It is located at 2540 SW Alan Blumlein Way (inside Building 58) in Beaverton. The clinic is open Thursday through Saturday from 12-7 p.m. and Sundays from 11 a.m.-4 p.m. 

Beaverton Resource Center: This clinic takes place every Friday inside the Beaverton Resource Center, 13565 SW Walker Road. Make an appointment at Project Access Now's website

La Mixteca Oaxaca: This clinic is open every Sunday from 11 a.m.-5 p.m. It is operated by Oregon Health Authority and Vive NW. It is located at 1050 SE Walnut Street in Hillsboro. No appointments, ID, or health insurance required. Testing is also available at this site. Questions? Call the Vive NW hotline at 844-291-4970. 

Virginia Garcia Memorial Health Center: Vaccination and testing at the new Hillsboro 7th Avenue clinic (226 SE 7th Ave) is open to all community members. You don't have to be a Virginia Garcia patient. Testing is drive-thru and vaccination is walk-up. Hours are M-F, 9a.m. to 4 p.m. You will need an appointment. Find more information at VG's website.

Centro Cultural: This clinic is located at 1110 N Adair Street in Cornelius. It is open on the last Saturday of each month from 8:30 a.m.-3:00 p.m. No appointment, ID, or health insurance is required. Find more information at Centro's website

Centro Clinic




Oregon Public Broadcasting has an excellent story on their website about preparing for Wildfire Season.  You can read it here, and check out highlights below:


Be Prepared!

Where can I find up-to-date fire information?

The National Interagency Fire Center keeps a running tally of active wildfires in each state. That tells you how many fires are active, how many are contained and how many are new.

For more detail, the National Wildfire Coordinating Group’s incident information system, known as InciWeb, is a regularly updated map of fires across the West. Public information officers post updates on specific fires along with photos and video.

The Oregon Smoke Blog also posts periodic updates about potential smoke hazards from fires burning in and out of state.


What if I need to evacuate?

Evacuation orders during a wildfire are handled by your local law enforcement agency or sheriff’s office. There are three levels of evacuation orders:

  • Level 1: Get ready. This level means you should prepare yourself to evacuate and closely monitor fire activity.
  • Level 2: Get set. This level means you need to be ready to leave at a moment’s notice.
  • Level 3: Go. Leave the area immediately.

The state of Oregon recommends packing food and water, medicines, an emergency power source like batteries or wireless chargers, and important documents. The Federal Emergency Management Agency offers a longer list of items to pack in your go-bag in the case of evacuation.

People should be prepared to spend several days away from home at minimum.


How can I protect myself from wildfire smoke?

Tthe American Lung Association said it’s important for people to monitor air quality during fire season.

The Oregon Department of Environmental Quality provides an online map and mobile app called OregonAir that display the air quality index. Third-party apps like Air Visual or government apps like AirNow from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency can also provide helpful information about air quality.

For people who must be outside, it’s recommended you wear an N95 respirator approved by the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health. The Oregon Occupational Safety and Health Administration offers guides on fitting masks in English and Spanish.

Oregon also recently adopted rules to protect outdoor workers from hazardous conditions like heat and smoke.


Where can I go to find clean air or stay cool?

People can find information about available cooling, warming or clean-air centers by calling 211 or visiting 211info.org.


Wildfire 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.





picture of veterans

Washington County Veterans Resources:

American Legion Post 0002: (503) 357-3660

American Legion Post 104: (503) 642-4907

American Legion Post 006: (503) 648-7191

Washington County Disability, Aging, and Veteran Services: (503) 846- 3060

Hillsboro VA Clinic: (503) 906-5000

Paws Assisting Veteransinfo@paveusa.org

Veterans of Foreign Wars: (503) 895- 1342

Hillsboro Elks Lodge: (503) 648- 1862

Rock Creek Veteran Resources | Veteran Resources at PCC : (971) 722-7743 or 7744

Veterans Support | Pacific University


Mental Health Services:

  • Washington County Crisis Line | 503-291-9111
  • Crisis Text Line | Text “Connect” to 741741
  • Suicide Prevention Lifeline | 1-800-273-8255
  • Trevor Lifeline | 1-866-488-7386





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


Flowers in Willamette Valley


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