August 13th Update from SD 23

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Michael Dembrow

August 13, 2022

Dear Neighbors and Friends,

I hope that you and your loved ones are doing well, staying healthy, and looking out for your neighbors and friends during this past week. 

I’m happy to report that my own encounter with COVID has gone as well as could be hoped for.  Upon testing positive upon my return from conferences in Denver last Thursday evening, I went into isolation (confining myself to the upstairs or out on the deck) for the next five days and was able to secure an order of Paxlovid right away from Kaiser. (They even delivered!)  My symptoms, fortunately, haven’t been any worse than a serious summer cold, with some fatigue. (Those of you who got to see me at the zoom Constituent Coffee or other zoom meetings probably noticed my voice was pretty gravelly.)  I tested positive again on Day 6, although I was feeling fine.  I test again this morning (Day 10) and was happily negative.  Tomorrow will be the first day I’m able to encounter others without a mask.  Can’t wait!

All in all, I can say that I’ve been a poster child for this phase of the pandemic.  Thank heavens that I’m able to be fully vaccinated and boosted, with access to antivirals.

In this evening’s newsletter I’ll take you back a week to the time I was in Denver for NCSL (National Conference of State Legislatures) and give you a little recap of the work that we did on immigration.  You’ll also find info on the upcoming annual Bike Town Hall (!!!) and a request for your input on the improvements being planned for 82nd Avenue.  You’ll also learn about a brand-new documentary coming our way, focused on the remarkable women becoming lawmakers and political leaders here in Oregon.

On the COVID front, we’ve continuing to see improvements in most of the state.  The overall message is a positive one right now.  All three Portland-area counties, along with eight others, are now considered by the CDC to be Low Risk; only five counties in all are considered to be at High Risk. We're continuing to see declines in all the COVID metrics.

You can read all the details below.

I’m also happy to report that we’re in pretty good shape right now on the wildfire front.  There are plenty of relatively small fires out there—nearly all of them ignited by lightning—but fire crews appear to be on top of them.  You can check out the real-time fire/data map from ODF here.  No ordered evacuations are currently in place, though eight people are in shelter.  You can find more info on the fires, evacuations, and air quality around the state here.

I’d also recommend KOIN TV’s Wildfire Watch 2022. for ongoing information and stories.  They’re doing a great job of covering the wildfire situation in the state.

We sadly did receive news about the death of a young firefighter this week: Collin Hagan, age 27, was killed by a falling tree while battling the Big Swamp Fire near Oakridge. Collin came to us as part of a fire crew from Colorado.  It’s a stark reminder of just how difficult and dangerous this work is, how much we owe those who are putting their lives at risk on our behalf.

Until next time, please do your best to stay healthy and safe.  And let me know if you have any questions or thoughts about anything in this week’s newsletter.


It’s Time for Bike Town Hall 2022!!!

Yes, it’s that time of year again: when we take our town hall outside, in very good company:  Representatives Barbara Smith Warner (HD 45) and Khanh Pham (SD 46), AND YOU!!!

This year’s town hall will be on September 10.  We’ll be focusing on the northern (HD 45) part of the district (we alternate every year).

This year's Annual Joint Bike Town Hall will feature a casual, non-strenuous 3 mile group bike ride, using approved bike routes and protected bike lanes through NE Portland.  We’ll be stopping along the way to meet with locals working on interesting projects.  Discussions along the route will highlight education, climate, transportation, and housing. 

It will help us to have a sense of how many of you will be attending. Here's a link for you to register.

Let us know if you need to borrow a bike! Food and drinks provided.  Bring a mask in case we go indoors or get in close company for presentations.

Saturday, Sept 10th, 9:00 am - 12:30pm Starting Location: Leodis V. McDaniel High School (former Madison HS), 2735 NE 82nd Ave. Portland, OR  Exact route information will be provided after registration.  

Please contact with any questions.



My Week in Denver: National Conference of State Legislatures Adopts Four Important Resolutions on Immigration

I mentioned in the last newsletter that I’ve just returned from various workshops and panels at last week’s annual meeting of the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL), the nonpartisan organization representing the perspective of state legislatures. Much of my time was spent participating in various informative workshops and panels.  But I also wound up spending a lot of time doing behind-the-scenes negotiating and shepherding several resolutions on the docket for votes by NCSL members.  They all had to do with immigrants and refugees.

I’ve mentioned in the past that I have the privilege of sitting on a national task force focused on immigration and the states.  It’s a standing task force of NCSL, and I’ve been a member since 2015.  As is the case for all of NCSL’s task forces, it is co-chaired by a Democrat and a Republican, and includes members of both parties.  It has given me the opportunity to tour many of the northern and southern border ports of entry, as well as access to the latest information from ICE, Homeland Security, the Immigration and Naturalization Service, and Health and Human Services.

As a result of our work, NCSL has a standing directive on immigration reform that points out the burden on the states (again, both Republican- and Democratic-led) by our current broken system and calls for improvements.

This year the Task Force decided to offer up four resolutions calling for specific improvements.  I’ve been one of several legislators (led by our Republican co-chair) working to get these ready for the summit.

One calls for the codification in law of DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, a program created by executive action and lacking the long-term stability of law).  Another calls both for an increase in temporary legal work visas for foreign workers who come here to do jobs that are going unfilled by U.S. citizens (most notably in agriculture) AND a pathway to citizenship for noncitizens currently working in this country.  A third focuses on the need to speed up and improve the system by which those on Temporary Protected Status and other refugees can be given stable pathways to citizenship. And a final resolution calls for more humane treatment of Asylum seekers on the southern border ports of entry.

Needless to say, these resolutions required a lot of work and involved a certain amount of compromise.  Different versions of some of these resolutions had failed in the past.  Passing a resolution requires a 2/3 majority vote of the states present (each state gets one vote), which can be a difficult threshold to reach, particularly for an issue as potentially contentious and politicized as immigration.  But I’m happy to say that at last week’s annual NCSL summit meeting, they all passed handily. 

I'm proud of what we were able to do there. These important, bipartisan proposals will now become part of NCSL’s lobbying agenda with Congress on behalf of the states.   Let’s hope that Congress is ready to listen. 


Interested in a Detailed Picture of What’s in the New Inflation Reduction Act?

Last week I mentioned the importance of the Inflation Reduction Act, just passed by the Senate, in terms of climate action.  It just passed the House yesterday and is headed for the President’s desk for his signature, which should come very soon.

Along with the various climate-action incentives and steps to reduce fugitive methane emissions, the bill does include a number of other important elements, including a corporate minimum tax (reducing the number of corporations that wind up paying little to nothing through creative use of tax write-offs), the ability to lower Medicare drug prices through negotiations, subsidies to cover increased health insurance costs under the Affordable Care Act, investments in the IRS that will allow them to go after big tax evaders, and a new tax on stock buy-backs.  In my book these are all important changes.

Needless to say, the newly-passed legislation is just a fraction of what was included in the original House-passed Build Back Better legislation, which also included money for pre-K education, an extension of tax credits for families with children, a federal paid family leave program, hearing aids for people on Medicare, among others.  But this was what could be passed through the Senate this year, a compromise required by the fact that every single Democrat had to vote for it. (Not a single Republican in the Senate or House ultimately voted to support the legislation.)  And you can only imagine how fierce the behind-the-scenes lobbying was from opponents of the increase in corporate taxes and lowering of pharmaceutical pricing.

For a very useful set of details on the elements of the bill—complete with pictographs—as well as a list of differences between the IRA and the BBB proposals, check out this article from the New York Times.


Have a Hand in Shaping Improvements to 82nd Ave

Thanks to many years of hard work by a number of legislators, local officials, and advocates, big changes are coming to 82nd Avenue as part of its transition from state oversight to city oversight.

The Portland Bureau of Transportation (PBOT) is in the process of developing specific plans.  They want your input to shape the future of 82nd Avenue.  They have created a virtual "Better 82nd Avenue Online Open House" to explain the background and the process and to gather input.  If you go to the site, you can take a survey to help them understand your priorities for future investment.

PBOT is also recruiting 18 community members to serve as volunteers for the Building a Better 82nd Avenue Community Advisory Group. This is another opportunity for you to share your perspective and help the project team engage with the community to make 82nd Avenue better for all. Applications are due August 22.

Please let me know if you have any questions.


World Premiere of the Documentary Shattered This Week

We’ve been hearing a lot about the very unique situation that Oregon finds itself in this year, with THREE women running for Governor.  For the first time ever, we can with confidence already refer to the new Governor as “she.” 

But of course this is just the culmination of many years of women shattering the political glass ceiling here in Oregon. There’s a new documentary on this subject that’s about to have its world premiere this coming Thursday at the UO-Portland building in downtown Portland. 

Join Governor Barbara Roberts and Multnomah County Commission Chair Deborah Kafoury and a bunch of impressive women co-hosts for the evening.  Here's what you need to know about the event.




Weekly Data Report:

Here is what this last week looks like in Oregon, based on information gleaned from OHA's daily reports.  At the end of the newsletter you’ll find graphs that I’ve put together showing the daily counts and trends for the last two weeks.

Overall, all the chief COVID metrics--infections, test positivity, hospitalizations, and deaths have gone down in the last week,  We appear to be in line with the latest OHSU forecasts, on the downslope of the “Omicron COVID Crest.”

  • The number of reported infections has dropped over the last week. OHA reported 6,595 new cases of COVID-19 during the week of August 5-11 (vs. 8,615 the week before), a 7-day average of 942 per day (vs 1,231 the previous week). The number of new cases is again likely an undercount, as many people are using home tests to determine their infection status but are not reporting those results.
  • Average test positivity for the last week was 11.4%, down from the previous week’s 12.9%. Again, this number skews high because it likely reflects a higher proportion of people showing COVID symptoms (and thus going in for a test, rather than self-testing).
  • On Thursday there were 372 COVID-19-related hospitalizations statewide, vs. 398 last Thursday.. Again, most of these hospitalizations are not in and of themselves due to COVID—they include those who tested positive after having been admitted for other reasons.
  • The number of COVID patients in Oregon’s ICUs has gone down over the last week: 48 on Thursday, down from last week’s 51. These are the most serious COVID infections. 
  • There were 65 COVID-19-related deaths reported during the last week, vs. 120 last week. Again, many deaths actually occurred in earlier weeks but were just reported to the state.


Weekly County Report: Number of High Risk Counties Drops to 5, Thirteen Counties Now Low Risk

According to the CDC Daily Counter (updated each Thursday), 5 (down from 12 last week) Oregon counties are now at high risk of COVID transmission, a status that reflects both the number of new COVID cases and the number of people in hospital for COVID:  Coos, Sherman, Umatilla, Wallowa, and Wasco.

Here’s what the CDC recommends for this category:  Stay up to date with COVID-19 vaccines. Get tested if you have symptoms. Wear a mask if you have symptoms, a positive test, or exposure to someone with COVID-19. Wear a mask on public transportation. You may choose to wear a mask at any time as an additional precaution to protect yourself and others. If you are at high risk for severe illness, consider wearing a mask indoors in public and taking additional precautions.

Eighteen Oregon counties (up from 16) have reported infection rates that place them in the Medium Risk category:  Baker, Crook, Curry, Deschutes, Douglas, Gilliam, Grant, Harney, Hood River, Jefferson, Jackson, Josephine, Lincoln, Malheur, Morrow, Tillamook, Union, and Wheeler.

Thirteen Oregon counties (up from 8)— Benton, Clackamas, Clatsop, Columbia, Klamath, Lake, Lane, Linn, Marion, Multnomah, Polk, Wheeler, and Yamhill—are now at Low Risk.

We can also track the test positivity rates for each county at this dashboard. The test positivity rates reported this week show continued increases.

At  10.9%, Multnomah County shows a slight increase from last week’s 10.3%. Washington County has dropped a lot—8.9% vs. last week’s 12.3%.  Clackamas County remained pretty much the same, at 9.3% vs. 9.2% last week.



This Week’s Wastewater Monitoring Report Shows Continuing Stability in Oregon Cities

With testing reports giving us just a fraction of infections out there, wastewater monitoring has become a more reliable indicator of the amount of virus in cities around the state.  That report is updated each week.

This week’s report shows us that NO cities (down from two last week) are showing sustained increases.  Corvallis is showing a slight increase.  The remainder are declining or remaining the same.

Of the cities monitored, 3% showed sustained increases (vs. 5% last week), 3%  showed sustained decreases (vs. 16% last week), and 95% remained on a no-change plateau (vs. 84% last week).


OHA Releases Update to Its COVID Demographic Report

The Oregon Health Authority has just released  an update to its data, showing  how COVID has been affecting different age, gender and ethnic/racial groups in Oregon.  It shows us that information with respect to infections, hospitalizations, and deaths. 


Additional COVID Updates and Links



cases graph




hospital graph


deaths graph


Here again are some COVID resources that you will find useful:

If the above links are not providing you with answers to your questions or directing you to the help that you need, please consider me and my office to be a resource.  We’ll do our best to assist you or steer you in the right direction.


Want to See Past Newsletters?

If there was COVID-related information in a past newsletter that you want to go back to, but find you’ve deleted it, you can always go to my legislative website (, click on “News and Information,” and you’ll find them all there.  Also, if someone forwarded you this newsletter and you’d like to get it directly, you can sign up for it there.


dembrow signature

Senator Michael Dembrow
District 23

phone: 503-281-0608
mail: 900 Court St NE, S-407, Salem, OR, 97301