Holiday Celebrations and Doing our Part!

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Representative Susan McLain

Hello Friends,

I hope you're all enjoying family time during Winter Break, and I hope your personal beliefs are celebrated with joy! I'm getting into the holiday spirit this year with some family cookie-making. With the fun of holiday cooking and gift-giving comes waste, so it's important that we remain environmentally-conscious by reusing and recycling more. On a legislative level, I am excited to be on the Recycling Council so I can work with my fellow legislators on eco-friendly solutions such as urging manufacturers to use less packaging. I've included more information on ways we can all do our part to protect our environment during the break in our new "Sustainability" section below. I look forward to being back in the office, gearing up for Session in the New Year!

rep mclain making cookies, posing with family and daughter posing with cookies
lit candles


Washington County 2023 Legislative Agenda

washco logo

The Board of Commissioners have adopted legislative agendas to support robust and equitable service delivery to the community.

The Washington County State Legislative Agenda for 2023 focuses on five key priorities that will build services for our community to thrive and also emphasize the importance of partnerships with a wide variety of stakeholders: 

  • Secure stabilized and sustainable funding for services that the state requires the County to provide.
  • Secure state investments supporting local government investments in economic development and job creation.
  • Develop policies to enable the County to recruit and retain the talent necessary for our communities to thrive.
  • Support funding to initiate the planning process for replacing the County’s almost 100-year-old Courthouse, which will improve how the public safety system serves our growing community.
  • Support state funding for the development of the Center for Addiction Triage and Treatment (the CATT) and additional behavioral health infrastructure.

The State Agenda also describes the County’s guiding principles which support the overall goals and mission of the Board to provide robust and equitable service delivery to the community.

Serving in their role as the Board for Clean Water Services, the Commissioners also set legislative priorities that support efforts to maintain and improve infrastructure, innovation and efficiency of water resources that ensure quality of life throughout the Tualatin River Watershed.

Likewise, the 2023 Federal Agenda lays out priorities for Clean Water Services and expands on the guiding principles for both agencies that will create an increasingly safe, equitable and inclusive community to live, work and thrive.

As stated by Board Chair Kathryn Harrington, “These legislative agendas are a framework for our efforts to advance the core services and values of Washington County. As it has become increasingly challenging to secure the needed resources to meet community need, we appreciate strong partnerships with federal, state and local leaders who are willing to roll up their sleeves and help us find solutions.”


50 years of putting hope into action

graduated students

At the annual Centro Graduation last week, they saw more than 80 examples of people elevating their educational opportunities, personal growth, and economic mobility. This is the kind of self-determination they have been investing in for the past 50 years.

Every year this graduation presents an opportunity to celebrate the hard work and bold ambitions of our community and staff members. We are deeply proud of all the graduates and those that continue to invest in their journeys.



Hillsboro shelter programs helped lift people out of homelessness


Shelter programs are crucial for getting some people back on their feet, as Steven Cadoreth, 43, can attest to personally.

Last year, he was homeless and taking advantage of the Cloverleaf Shelter site run out of the Washington County Fairgrounds in Hillsboro.

Since then, he’s moved into more permanent housing and has decided to pursue work that can help lift others out of homelessness.

All told, he was homeless for about three years — a byproduct of addictions to methamphetamine and alcohol, Cadoreth said.

Now, he works for Open Door HousingWorks, the nonprofit contracted by Washington County to manage its shelter programs. Cadoreth is currently assigned to the Hillsboro Safe Rest Pods site, just erected this year on the corner of Southwest 17th Avenue and Tualatin Valley Highway.

He said the stability provided by shelters like this one — and the Cloverleaf site also managed by Open Door — is crucial for finding permanent paths out of homelessness.

The shelter

The Hillsboro site just opened this year and currently houses 21 people across 19 “pods,” the colloquial name for the Conestoga-style huts that they can live in free of charge.

The pods are 6-feet-by-10-feet and contain a cot set atop a wooden platform, as well as basic storage areas and a small window.

Residents get three hot meals a day — really, far more than that with how much food gets donated from nearby WinCo Foods and other local businesses and nonprofits, said site manager Gionni Gambino.

Hot showers are run out of a trailer on the site, three times per day. There’s a food hall with emergency tents for folks who can’t find a place at one of the other county-sponsored shelters.

Program expansion

The Hillsboro pod site is currently getting five more pods built and can hold up to 32 of them.

However, the site will only be temporary until next year, when construction on a permanent, standing shelter structure on the same land will take place.

The pods themselves will be broken down and stored for future use, like out in Forest Grove at a planned site that has yet to be finalized.

The shelter pods and the winter emergency shelters are just some of the programs offered through Washington County and in coordination with local cities.

The county also has bridge shelters run out of old motels that have been converted into shelters for families. There are other options in other communities, mostly funded through the voter-approved Supportive Housing Services bond passed in 2020.



Forest Grove is investing in its alternative school; working with students who don't thrive in the 'system'


Sebastian Rivera used to leave Forest Grove High School for a six-hour work shift every day.

River transferred to the Forest Grove School District’s Community Alternative Learning Center for his junior year and is now on track to graduate as a senior. He takes classes online, checking in with teachers on campus every Wednesday, and plans to enroll in a community college HVAC program after graduation.

Over the summer, the district upgraded the campus and added staff at the alternative high school in an effort to expand opportunities for working, parenting, moving and other students who struggle in general classroom settings. The school offers instruction in-person, online and as a combination of the two. Students can also split their schedule with classes at Forest Grove High School.

CALC enrollment has already jumped from around 60 ninth- through 12th-grade students last year to 100 this fall, compared to about 1,800 at Forest Grove High.

The CALC curriculum differs from Forest Grove High School’s as well, as it runs on six-week grading periods.

To take core classes, in-person students must first pass a “discovery” class, which discusses emotional well-being, behavioral health, interpersonal relationships and other social skills in a classroom setting.


NEW in 2023: Curbside Battery Recycling

recycling sign with batteries

Beginning January 1, 2023, Hillsboro residents can recycle common household batteries in the glass recycling bin for curbside pickup at no additional cost. 

You CAN Recycle

  • Household alkaline batteries (AAA, AA, D)
  • Button cell batteries (Need ends taped)
  • Lithium batteries (Need ends taped)

You CANNOT Recycle

  • Battery back-up (UPS) units
  • Car batteries
  • Lead-acid batteries

For batteries that cannot be recycled, please us Washington County's What to Recycle and Where tool to find the nearest recycling location.

How to Recycle Batteries

  • Place your batteries in a 1-quart zip-sealed plastic bag (limit one bag per pickup)
  • Put the bag on top of the glass in your glass bin
  • Batteries are collected on the same schedule as your glass recycling


Television Waste and Disposal Tips

packaged tvs

Many people choose to upgrade their television sets during winter. Holiday sales, beginning in November and lasting until spring, encourage consumers to clear the shelves to make room for new TV models.

It’s a yearly retail cycle that can lead to a lot of waste and a lot of confusion about the best way to get rid of electronics people no longer want.

Before buying a new set, consider purchasing a used one. Buying used goods reduces the impact of manufacturing - getting more use out of the resources that went into design, production and transport of products. Used or refurbished TVs will often sell for a fraction of the cost of a new model.
If purchasing new, Oregon Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) suggests looking for energy efficient products that carry the Energy Star label.
Some TV models also have fewer environmental impacts during manufacturing. For example, some models use recycled plastics in their components. The Global Electronics Council has created a tool to rate and suggest more environmentally friendly TVs, known as the Electronic Product Environmental Assessment tool.

TV packaging disposal

A new television set often comes with a lot of packaging - some can be recycled and some should be thrown in the trash.

The cardboard box can be recycled if it is clean and dry, otherwise it is trash. Flatten cardboard boxes and cut up any boxes larger than 3 feet in any direction. Plastic wrap and plastic strapping should be thrown into the trash.

Styrofoam packaging can’t be recycled at home, so skip the curbside recycling bin. The Agilyx facility in Tigard accepts Styrofoam for free.

Getting rid of unwanted TVs

In Oregon, it has been illegal to dispose of TVs in the garbage, landfills or incinerators since 2010. The disposal ban requires people reuse or recycle televisions, computers and monitors.

If the television still works, consider reuse or resale. Ask your community if there is someone who could use your TV or donate it to a secondhand store or reuse organization.

Broken televisions can be recycled for free through the Oregon E-cycles program. The program also provides free recycling of computers, monitors, printers, keyboards and mice. Call the E-Cycles hotline at 1-888-532-9253 or visit the Oregon E-cycles site to find the collection site nearest to you. You can bring up to seven electronic items for recycling at one time at an E-Cycles collection site and Metro’s transfer stations.

What to do with remotes and cords

Don’t toss that old remote control in that trash, especially if it has batteries inside. Leave the cords out of the recycling bin - they aren’t recyclable at home and will clog recycling sorting machines. Donate your unwanted remotes and cords to electronics recyclers or secondhand stores where they can find be recycled or reused.
Take your used batteries to a hazardous waste collection event or a Metro household hazardous waste facility. Hazardous waste disposal is free for households, up to 35 gallons per household per day.



SNAP Benefits December 2022: Extra food stamps

Christmas time can be the most challenging time of the year for adults to make sure that there is enough food to go around for their children or even just for themselves.

The great news for recipients is that many states, including Oregon are administering extra food stamps in December to cope with the more financially demanding time of the year.

This extra SNAP support was authorized at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic and in many states it has remained in place. It is a scheme that will remain available until at least mid-January 2023.

States will have at least 60 days notice before the end of SNAP in order to prepare for a transition into other forms of welfare for those who need it.

Oregon will administer extra food stamps on the December 29th. 


New data show updated COVID-19 vaccines work well

New research published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) offers the first real-world data showing how well the updated (bivalent) COVID-19 vaccines work. The updated mRNA shots were designed to target newer strains of the virus and provide better protection from a COVID-19 infection compared to the original (monovalent) vaccine.

The data show the bivalent booster (whether Pfizer or Moderna) is significantly more effective than the original monovalent vaccine at preventing a COVID-19 illness (infection with symptoms) in adults during recent months.

Looking for a COVID-19 vaccine? Call your healthcare provider or start here.


girl with calendar

Free COVID-19 Tests Available Again

The federal government is offering each household in the United States four free at-home COVID-19 tests, regardless of citizenship or health insurance status.

You can order them now here (or call 800-232-0233) to be shipped for free starting the week of Dec. 19. The four tests are in addition to any free tests you may have previously ordered from the federal government before the program was suspended in September.

Additionally, if you do have health insurance (including Medicare or Medicaid), your insurance will cover the cost of up to eight at-home COVID-19 tests per covered individual, per month. Some retailers may require payment up front, which your insurance will reimburse.

If you don’t have access to an at-home COVID-19 test, use this locator tool to find a free or low-cost testing location near you.


covid test

Get Vaccinated at La Clínica

You and your family can receive a free COVID-19 vaccine at Centro Cultural. They are offering Pfizer (6 months and older), Moderna (6 months and older), and J&J (ages 18+), including boosters (ages 5+). They will be hosting clinics every Saturday from 10am-2pm through the end of 2022.

In collaboration with Washington County Public Health and Oregon Health Authority, their Clínica events include vaccines, wraparound services, and additional wellness information provided by their Community Health Workers.

For more information please email them at


person with mask and white lab coat looking at vaccine syringe

Updated COVID-19 shots for young kids authorized and available

If you’re a parent or caregiver with a child age 5 or under and you experienced difficulty getting them vaccinated with the updated (bivalent) COVID-19 shot, please note it is authorized and available in Oregon. These vaccines might be in short supply; talk to your child’s health care provider to determine if your child is eligible. 

thumbs up cartoon


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

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, using the “Need Help?” button found on most state agency websites or visiting

Education Links

Local Government

Utilities Assistance

Food and Housing Assistance


Oregon Health Authority


Yours truly,

Representative Susan McLain

Representative Susan McLain
House District 29

email: I phone: 503-986-1429
address: 900 Court St NE, H-489, Salem, OR 97301