Workforce Developments And Training, Forward-Moving Bills Have Public Hearings

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Representative Susan McLain

Hello Friends and Neighbors, 

We're wrapping up the second week of Session! I am so grateful to be Co-Chairing the Budget Committee on Education, and it's been exciting to watch our investment dollars develop our non-profits, workforce and industry. This week, we heard from Director Jennifer Purcell from the Higher Education Coordinating Commission and she discussed the Workforce Training and Education Investment Package called Future Ready Oregon. This package works to advance a diverse workforce, create equitable prosperity and upward mobility, invest in wraparound supports and services, engage employers, education, training providers and community-based organizations. Some of the components of this package include local workforce development boards, postsecondary career pathways, scaling-up registered apprenticeships, workforce benefits navigators, and supporting credit for prior learning and workforce readiness grants. Even though it's only the first chapter, I am looking forward to watching our higher education system grow.

In addition, Kristi Wilson, the Workforce Development Manager with Future Ready Oregon, presented on the Advanced Manufacturing Workforce Partnership for the City of Hillsboro. She discussed the workforce pipeline and incumbent job training needs in collaboration with industry, education and community partners. One component of this package is the Hillsboro Advanced Manufacturing Workforce Partnership, which will serve as an advisory taskforce to oversee grant progress and outcomes. They will also be partnering with Centro de Prosperidad to engage industry navigators, focus on cross-generational career exploration and expand existing workforce development programming. Lastly, they'll be partnering with the Hillsboro School District to place career talent advisors to serve as business liaisons between K-12, industry partners, and Portland Community College.

I am thrilled to be a part of this important work, as education is one of my top priorities and I want to ensure a quality, equitable and accessible education system for all Oregonians and their families. 


Cartoon of a bill


This Session, I have submitted 13 bills for consideration. Each week I will provide status updates on these bills and highlight other important bills from peers that the Legislature is considering.


Update on McLain Bills

Two of my personal bills had hearings this week; HB 2616 and HB 2615. HB 2616 authorizes the sale of unpasteurized milk from small-scale farms through delivery service or at farmers' markets or other farm-to-consumer sales locations if milk is labeled as unpasteurized. You can watch the testimony from HB 2616 here

Today, I joined my former intern, Nick Juarez in testifying for our bill, HB 2615, which would allow veterans to participate in the Oregon Promise program if first enrolled in classes within 12 months after discharge from military.

nick and rep mclain


The Oregon Promise Grant currently requires recent Oregon high school graduates to enroll at an Oregon Community College by six months after graduation. Therefore, veterans who enter the service directly after graduation lose eligibility for this grant.

The idea behind this bill was created by Nick, who is a former Marine, Washington County resident and student at Portland Community College. He was disappointed that he was not eligible for the Oregon Promise Grant because he enlisted out of high school, so he advocated for HB 2615 and contributed to the drafting of it. He wants to ensure that returning veterans have more opportunities to attend college in Oregon without having to take on debt.

Here is Nick's testimony that he delivered to the House Committee on Emergency Management, General Government and Veterans:

"My Name is Nick Juarez, and I am a Marine Corps veteran, college student, and proud Oregonian. I grew up in the town of Aloha, Oregon and graduated from Aloha High School in 2017. In the fall of that same year, I made the decision to join the Marine Corps to try and find what my purpose was in this world. I didn’t join the military for the benefits or for the status. I joined the military to find out who I was and to serve a purpose greater than myself. I never wanted to pursue a college degree, but on my way out of the military I realized that to succeed in the outside world, I needed to complement the skills I learned in the military with the essential skills that could only be attained at college. I’m currently in my second and last year at Portland Community College and I plan to transfer to Portland State University, in the fall, to pursue a double major in political science and social work. Many professions in my county and local cities require college degrees in order to be designated as “qualified” to be eligible for them. Without college I wouldn’t be able to do what I want to do on the scale that I want to do it at. Without being afforded the financial opportunity to pursue a college degree, I wouldn’t be able to achieve my goals and have the knowledge to make a lasting impact in my community.

There is no greater fear than coming back to a home that you no longer resonate with. There is also no greater sense of peace knowing that your community and state support your ambitions, goals, and individual well-being. To me, this isn’t a bill for purely additional educational support to our veterans. To me, it’s an opportunity to show them, even at a small level, that we support their individual endeavors. It’s an opportunity to ease the pain of making the difficult decision to leave the family that you made by your time in the service and pursue greater goals. Transitioning back to civilian life isn’t easy. Regardless if you're a veteran that saw combat overseas or if you're a veteran that supported the mission state side, none of us come back the same. We all lose a little piece of ourselves with our friends who were our greatest blessings and support structures.

There isn’t a greater group of individuals than veterans that deserve additional education benefits. Less than one percent of the United States population serves in our armed forces. The tenacity for individuals to voluntarily sign years of their lives away, not knowing the places they’ll go, the things they’ll see, or the occasions they’ll miss, is by itself, admirable. It’s an injustice that the sole reason why veterans cannot participate in the Oregon Promise Grant is because of their willingness to put the nation before themselves. Many people think that the best our nation has to offer sit in lecture halls at Ivy League schools. The truth is, the best our nation could ever offer are the individuals who sit in fighting holes, faces marred by dirt, that no one will ever hear about.

Please support this bill and make this a home for the people who protect it. Thank you."



Housing Policy Bills

Housing issues are top of mind this Legislative Session as we work to solve the equally large crises of housing availability and affordability. The House Committee on Housing and Homelessness held hearings on two bills this week that both seek to offer incentives for those who provide affordable housing options; HB 2653 and HB 3032.

HB 2653 creates an income tax credit for the seller of publicly supported housing that will be retained as affordable housing for at least 30 years, and is affordable to households earning 80 percent or less of the area median income. You can watch a recording of the hearing here.   

HB 3032 establishes a personal income tax subtraction for taxpayers who rent one or more rooms in the taxpayer’s principal residence, provided that the same individual rents a room in the taxpayer’s residence for at least three months, and the monthly rent per room does not exceed $1,000. The measure restricts the subtraction to no more than $12,000 per room rented per tax year. You can watch a recording of the hearing here






A time to pay tribute to the triumphs and struggles of generations of Black Americans throughout history


black history month

February is Black History Month, and while we do study and celebrate the diversity and contributions of Black/African/African Americans during this time, these conversations and lessons are not limited to the month of February - they take place throughout the entire year. Black History Month celebrates the rich cultural heritage, triumphs, and adversities that help shape our country’s past and present.

It’s never too early to begin celebrating and teaching your child about Black leaders. Even more importantly, find ways to inspire the leadership capacities within your child. Participate in the Black History events, celebrations, and learning opportunities that are scheduled in your community: Ask your child and the staff about the activities and commemorations taking place in their school. Watch videos, read books (, and engage with people who represent Black/African/African American heritage and culture. Encourage your child to be curious about the contributions and accomplishments of Black people. Together you can explore, discuss, and make connections. Celebrate Black history and cultural diversity all year long!



As a Co-Chair on the Joint Transportation Committee, I am always supportive of projects that aim at improving the design of our infrastructure. This Session, the Joint Transportation Committee is especially focused on ensuring public safety on our streets.


Open house to discuss new Highway 47 intersection in Forest Grove



Washington County is inviting Forest Grovers to discuss a new intersection coming to Highway 47 at an open house at the end of January.

Community members have the opportunity to meet with project designers 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 31, at the Forest Grove City Auditorium at 1915 Main St.

Historically, the intersection of Highway 47, Maple Street and Fern Hill Road has proven dangerous for drivers. The intersection is controlled by stop signs on Maple Street and Fern Hill Road, while highway traffic continues through without stopping.

With an estimated $2.2 million largely from the Major Streets Transportation Improvement Program, which is largely funded by property taxes, the county plans to install a traffic signal at the intersection.

The project design is not expected to be completed until March 2024, with construction to follow.

The intersection is under a trio of jurisdictions, as Washington County controls Fern Hill Road, the city of Forest Grove is responsible for Maple Street, and Highway 47 is a state route under the Oregon Department of Transportation.

According to the Washington County Land Use & Transportation Department, the county analyzed four alternatives:

  • A two-way stop with right-turn lanes;
  • A traffic signal;
  • A single-lane roundabout;
  • A restricted-crossing intersection, in which vehicles would turn right onto the highway and then make a U-turn instead of turning left across the highway.



Our local shelter services are expanding and I am excited to see them continue to grow in the next year. Please check out the WashCo Housing Site to find resources for people experiencing homelessness, housing vouchers and public housing options and contact information for rental assistance programs.


Washington County Supportive Housing Services take root in first year



The Washington County Supportive Housing Services program launched in July 2021, connecting an initial 305 formerly houseless households to homes and apartments in its first year, according to a presentation by county officials to the Forest Grove City Council.

In 2022, Washington County launched new housing case management services to help residents find and retain housing, as well as a regional long-term rent assistance under the Supportive Housing Services program.

Over the past year, the county had hoped to place 500 formerly homeless households into permanent and supportive housing. As usual with housing and homelessness targets — in Washington County, throughout the Metro region and statewide, officials and advocates have long been struggling to get a handle on the related issues — it fell short, placing 305.

In 2022-23, the county hopes to have 1,000 supported households, and 1,500 by 2023-24.

Instead of new county employees, the program largely funnels funding and training to a network of nonprofit organizations, including the Forest Grove Foundation, Open Door HousingWorks and Centro Cultural de Washington County, for services including homeless outreach, behavioral health support and housing application assistance.

Forest Grove Foundation director Shawn Cardwell said his organization focuses on outreach, which includes both emergency survival supplies and connecting homeless individuals with case managers who facilitate the process to look for permanent housing.

Larsen said the county added 100 shelter beds in the past year, including 20 at Casa Amparo in Forest Grove. Western Washington County still lacks emergency shelter capacity in winter months — a church-run program was discontinued during the COVID-19 pandemic and hasn’t resumed — meaning Hillsboro is the closest place for many residents living on the streets or in the woods to find shelter when temperatures drop below freezing.



This is a great effort to address the statewide need for more defenders and ensure greater representation for community members awaiting hearings.


Washington County courts trying new specialty court program to address public defender backlog



More than 100 criminal defendants in Washington County do not have court-appointed attorneys assigned to their case — further evidence of the impact of a mounting public defender crisis in Oregon.

To address this backlog, the Washington County Circuit Court is rolling out its third specialty court docket system in three years.

Thanks to a contract with a local consortium of defense attorneys, the so-called Wingspan 3 court docket aims to address at least half of these cases.

The specialty court is named after the Wingspan Event Center, where Washington County stood up its first specialty court in 2020 to address the backlog of cases brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic’s impact on in-person court hearings.

The first Wingspan court will be held on Feb. 13, processing as many qualified cases as possible for the next five weeks.



Here's an engaging opportunity to deepen our community understanding of the homelessness epidemic, and hear from presenters such as our county's homeless services, our attorney and the PSU Homelessness Research and Action Collaborative.


Homelessness Listen & Learn


Join the City of Hillsboro for a free Homelessness Listen & Learn Event ( on Saturday, Jan. 28 from 1 p.m. to 3:15 p.m., presented in English and Spanish both in person at the Hillsboro Senior Center and online.





As community members, we have an opportunity to make our voices heard and have them reflected in our local institutions. Come make your voice heard in the process!


Envision Cornelius Elementary

cornelius elementary


Come help us envision the new Cornelius Elementary! Learn how to lend your voice in the design process, see the overall timeline for the project, and share your hopes and dreams for the new school. There will be food and child care provided.

If you aren’t able to attend the Open House but would like to be considered for joining the Design Advisory Group, please complete the survey linked below before February 3rd.



As parents and educators, it is our job to have an open dialogue about drugs and the dangers of recreational use. Together, we can minimize drug use to ensure the safety and bright futures of our children  


Fentanyl Awareness Plan



Safety is HSD’s top priority and we believe it is critically important to share information about the dangers of fentanyl with our students and families. Young people are purchasing what they think are OxyContin, Percocet, or Xanax pills via social media, but what they are getting are fake pills containing the cheaper, stronger, and more deadly synthetic drug called fentanyl. Fentanyl is up to 50 times more potent than heroin and 100 times more potent than morphine. Fentanyl is odorless, tasteless and colorless. Teens never know what they’re getting, and one pill can kill them. Students and families can report confidential concerns about substances circulating in the community by going to

During the month of January, students in middle and high school will receive a lesson during one of their advisory classes about fentanyl awareness. The lessons at both levels will provide students an opportunity to learn more about why it is important to be aware of the risks of drugs being manufactured with fentanyl. They will provide students with an opportunity to ask questions and collaborate with their peers and teacher about the risks associated with fentanyl. The lessons are designed to provide students with information to support them in making informed and healthy decisions. Students will have access to their school counselor and will be provided with information about local community resources.

Parents and guardians play a critical role in supporting their student’s mental health and healthy decision making. We encourage parents and guardians to check in with their student(s) throughout the time these lessons are happening. To help families with support and additional information, HSD is providing a Substance Use Family Night with a focus on Fentanyl Awareness on Wednesday, Feb. 15 from 5:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. The event will be virtual and the link will be sent in an upcoming Hot News. During the event, families will be able to hear more about the district lessons, systems of support within HSD, and the systems of support within Washington County.

We care deeply about the health and safety of each and every student in our HSD community. We know these conversations with your student can be hard. Please reach out to your child's school counselor or administrator if you need support.

Additional Resource: Parent OD Prevention One Pager:



This week, we've listed a range of resources and support, such as education grants, food resources, shelter information, free citizenship clinic and various forms of bill assistance. We are excited for these opportunities and services that promote the health and well-being of individuals, family relationships, and financial success.


Snap Benefits Soon Ending // Resources Remain Available



February is the last month the federal government will allow Oregon to issue expanded pandemic emergency food benefits through the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). Households that receive SNAP will continue to receive their regular SNAP benefits after February.

If you or someone you know needs low-cost or free food, these resources remain available:
• Check out Oregon Food Bank’s food finder tool for help finding a food pantry in your area.
• Call 211, text your zip code to 898-211, or search at
• A variety of food resources are available through Oregon Department of Human Resources.
• Older adults and people with disabilities seeking food resources can check out Aging and Disability Resource Connection of Oregon; 1-855-673-2372.
• Contact your local Community Action Agency for food resources and support.
If you have questions about your SNAP benefits, call 1-800-699-9075, Mon. to Fri., 7 a.m. to 6 p.m.

To learn more, read the news release from Oregon Department of Human Services:



The state and Washington County have partnering programs, such as the following grant program.

Social and Emotional Wellness Grant

social/emotional grant


Washington County Health and Human Services is offering $100,000 and $150,000 grants to organizations with programs that improve social and emotional wellness using a trauma informed approach while also addressing racial inequity.

Programs that serve Black/African American, Indigenous, Hispanic/Latinx, Asian, People of Color, immigrant and refugee, LGBTQ+ or those living at the intersection of those identities will be prioritized.

Applications are due by February 28, 2023, by 5 p.m. Visit our webpage to learn more about the grant and to apply. You can also contact Lyndi Petty at



Safe rest pods provide temporary shelter




The new Safe Rest pods have recently opened in Hillsboro and temporarily serve 30 to 40 of the local houseless community. If you are experiencing or are at risk of homelessness and in need of housing resources, contact Community Connect

at 503-640-3263 or visit



Free citizenship clinic

citizenship flyer


On Saturday, February 18, 2023, there will be a FREE citizenship workshop and community fair at the following address: Oregon AFL-CIO 3645 SE 32nd Ave. Portland, OR 97202. Free books and backpacks will also be handed out to families at 8:30 am.

Applicants must attend a consultation in preparation for the workshop. The next consultation will be held on Saturday, January 21 from 10:00 am - 5:00 pm at the Brookwood Library in Hillsboro. See the flyer in Spanish or English for more details or call 503-384-2482. 



Free Food Markets!

free food market flyer


Free Food Markets are happening once a month at Hillsboro and Tigard ODHS Self-Sufficiency offices in partnership with the Oregon Food Bank.

Hillsboro: 5300 NE Elam Young Pkwy, Hillsboro, OR 97124.

Hours: 1:30PM - 3:30PM Every 2nd Tuesday of the month.

Tigard: 10777 SW Cascade Ave, Tigard, OR 97223.

Hours: 1:30PM - 3:30PM Every 4th Monday of the month.

The food is free, all are welcomed. No ID, name, or address is needed. Please bring your own bags or boxes.

Questions? Contact the Oregon Food Bank 503-282-0555.


Utility Assistance and Energy Conservation - Community Action

Community Action is available to assist community members experiencing financial difficulty with utility bills. For more information, please visit Community Action's utility assistance page. If repair is needed to improve energy efficiency, weatherization assistance is available, visit this page. Or call 503-906-6550.


Gas bill discounts for NW Natural Gas eligible customers

NW Natural's Oregon bill discount program is now available for income-qualified customers. Apply online or download the application and mail it in. For more information visit


Affordable Connectivity Program

You may qualify for free or discounted internet. The Affordable Connectivity Program offers at least a $30 monthly discount on internet service for qualifying households. If you are receiving benefits from ODHS, you may automatically qualify. To check your eligibility or submit a free no-risk application, visit or call 1-877-384-2575.



Here are some health-related services available to Oregonians across the district.


Give Kids A Smile Free Dental Clinic

dental clinic ad


In honor of National Children’s Dental Health Month, Pacific University’s dental hygiene program is hosting a free Give Kids a Smile ( event on Saturday, Feb. 4, from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. at their Hillsboro clinic (222 SE 8th Ave.). Children ages 5-18 will receive dental cleanings, exams, x-rays, fillings, and extractions (as needed). Call 503-352-7373 for an appointment; no insurance or proof of identification required.



Local Vaccination Event

vaccine flyer


Virginia Garcia Memorial Health Center is hosting free vaccination events at their Hillsboro clinic from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Jan. 28 ( and Feb. 11 ( Childhood immunizations, flu vaccinations, and COVID-19 vaccinations are available. Appointments encouraged (, walk-ups welcome.



COVID-19 Resources


If you or are looking for COVID testing, please visit this webpage.

Treatment and Long COVID

Looking for Paxlovid or other COVID treatments? Do you want to more about Long COVID? Find resources on this page.

COVID-19 HelpLine: 503-846-8123.


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