A Busy Weekend in Western Washington County!

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Representative Susan McLain
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Dear Friends and Neighbors,

As Fall approaches, I'm reflecting back on the full Summer I've had. I kept busy this Interim with over 130 meetings on issues ranging from Education to Transportation to local community needs. I spent time researching and deliberating on the two bills I'll be presenting in the 2024 Short Session, and I promise to share more about those in a future newsletter. I had quality time with my family at the Oregon Coast and Black Butte, and welcomed a new great grandchild! I was able to see many of you at some of the great community events put on in our area. Attending this weekend's Corn Roast and Chalk Art Festival in Forest Grove and El Grito Festival in Hillsboro is the perfect way to end the Summer and I hope you'll join me at these special celebrations of our community.

You'll find the following information in this week's newsletter:

  • Celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month
  • National Suicide Prevention Month
  • Legislative Update on Housing and Education
  • I-5 Bridge Update on Grant Funding
  • Back-to-School Information on Joining 4-H
  • Western Washington County Upcoming Events
  • Health Update on New Covid Vaccine
  • Resources


2023 Interim - Summer Highlights: Time well spent with colleagues, Education and Transportation advocates, and my amazing family. 

Summer Highlights
SECTION HEADER: Hispanic Heritage Month


The people who make up the Hispanic and Latin American tapestry within the U.S. are as diverse as the various countries from which they come. Hispanic Heritage Month, which kicks off Sept. 15 and runs through Oct. 15, is ripe with opportunities to observe, celebrate and learn about the rich cultures and contributions of Hispanic Americans in the overarching American story.

What started as Hispanic Heritage Week under former President Lyndon B. Johnson was expanded to a monthlong observance 20 years later by President Ronald Reagan in 1988. The start of Hispanic Heritage Month coincides with the commemoration of the independence of five Central American nations from Spain: Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua. Mexico celebrates its independence the following day, and Chile celebrates its independence day Sept. 18. As of July 2022, Hispanics are the nation’s largest racial or ethnic minority in the U.S., with more than 63 million residents making up more than 19 percent of the population, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

The Mexican and Latino heritage of our community members enriches Western Washington County. Learn more about the history and culture of Mexico, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, and Chile, who celebrate their independence from Spain during the month of September by exploring books and movies from our local libraries. 




Suicide Prevention Month


Suicide is not inevitable for anyone. By starting the conversation, providing support, and directing help to those who need it, we can prevent suicides and save lives. Evidence shows that providing support services, talking about suicide, reducing access to means of self-harm, and following up with loved ones are just some of the actions we can all take to help others.

♦Know the Risk Factors

Risk factors are characteristics that make it more likely that someone will consider, attempt, or die by suicide. They can't cause or predict a suicide attempt, but they're important to be aware of.

  • Mental disorders, particularly mood disorders, schizophrenia, anxiety disorders, and certain personality disorders
  • Alcohol and other substance use disorders
  • Hopelessness
  • Impulsive and/or aggressive tendencies
  • History of trauma or abuse
  • Major physical illnesses
  • Previous suicide attempt(s)
  • Family history of suicide
  • Job or financial loss
  • Loss of relationship(s)
  • Easy access to lethal means
  • Local clusters of suicide
  • Lack of social support and sense of isolation
  • Stigma associated with asking for help
  • Lack of healthcare, especially mental health and substance abuse treatment
  • Cultural and religious beliefs, such as the belief that suicide is a noble resolution of a personal dilemma
  • Exposure to others who have died by suicide (in real life or via the media and Internet)

♦Know the Warning Signs

Some warning signs may help you determine if a loved one is at risk for suicide, especially if the behavior is new, has increased, or seems related to a painful event, loss, or change. If you or someone you know exhibits any of these, seek help by calling the Lifeline.

  • Talking about wanting to die or to kill themselves
  • Looking for a way to kill themselves, like searching online or buying a gun
  • Talking about feeling hopeless or having no reason to live
  • Talking about feeling trapped or in unbearable pain
  • Talking about being a burden to others
  • Increasing the use of alcohol or drugs
  • Acting anxious or agitated; behaving recklessly
  • Sleeping too little or too much
  • Withdrawing or isolating themselves
  • Showing rage or talking about seeking revenge
  • Extreme mood swings
988 crisis line flyer


Washington County is available to help. Call their Behavioral Health Support Team at 503-846-4528. If you are in crisis, call the Crisis Line at 503-291-9111. 

Find more information about care coordination:


SECTION HEADER: Legislative Updates



Yesterday, Governor Tina Kotek announced funding allocations to counties within Oregon's Balance of State Continuum of Care as part of her homelessness state of emergency, as well as the specific outcomes attached to these emergency dollars.

The funding comes from House Bill 5019, approved by the Legislature and signed by Governor Kotek in response to her homelessness state of emergency. The bill, among other allocations, included $26.1 million to rehouse people experiencing homelessness and expand shelter capacity in the 26 rural counties that make up the Balance of State Continuum of Care.

This funding aims to reduce the number of people experiencing unsheltered homelessness by adding at least 100 new shelter beds and rehousing at least 450 households by June 30, 2025.

The following funding amounts are based on many factors, including the appropriation made available by the Legislature, detailed plans that local communities submitted, and a distribution formula developed by the Oregon Housing and Community Services Department:

  • Baker, Grant, Union and Wallowa counties: $1.2 million to rehouse at least 33 households
  • Benton County: $2.4 million to add at least 50 shelter beds and rehouse at least 31 households
  • Clatsop County: $3.8 million to add at least 80 shelter beds and rehouse at least 33 households
  • Columbia County: $867,453 to rehouse at least 20 households
  • Coos County: $1.9 million to add at least 8 shelter beds and rehouse at least 32 households
  • Curry County: $594,000 to rehouse at least 14 households
  • Douglas County: $1.4 million to rehouse at least 34 households
  • Gilliam, Morrow, Umatilla and Wheeler counties: $2.1 million to add at least 25 shelter beds and rehouse at least 40 households
  • Harney and Malheur counties: $1.3 million to rehouse at least 34 households
  • Hood River, Sherman and Wasco and counties: $1.9 million to add at least 34 shelter beds and rehouse at least 29 households
  • Josephine County: $2 million to add at least 16 shelter beds and rehouse at least 31 households
  • Klamath and Lake counties: $1.4 million to rehouse at least 38 households
  • Lincoln County: $856,178 to add at least 70 shelter beds and rehouse at least 16 households
  • Linn County: $1.9 million to add at least 30 shelter beds and rehouse at least 32 households
  • Tillamook County: $769,404 to add at least 20 shelter beds and rehouse at least 12 households
  • Yamhill County: $1.3 million to add at least 14 shelter beds and rehouse at least 21 households

Communities established 16 Local Planning Groups with designated leads to coordinate and create a plan to achieve the outcomes. Local Planning Groups are made up of experts from local governments, non-profits, and people with lived experience of homelessness. These groups will be responsible for the implementation of funds to help move individuals and families into housing stability. 

Local Planning Groups submitted 29 shelter projects for consideration, with a total request of over $37 million.



JPEA Hearing Video Link

Last Friday, I chaired the first Interim meeting of the Joint Committee on Public Education Appropriation (JPEA). The JPEA's primary responsibility is to evaluate the Quality Education Model (QEM) report. The report is important in assisting lawmakers with establishing the costs of providing the education programs necessary for Oregon's children to meet educational goals.

The QEM report addresses this critical question: How much does a quality education cost? It determines the level of funding sufficient to ensure the state K-12 education system meets the quality goals set forth in statute each biennium. It also identifies best practices based on research, data, and professional judgment and public values, and their costs. See the video clip to the right for a brief discussion we had on the importance of the report in building curriculum in the state. 

In addition to hearing from the Quality Education Commission on the QEM, the Committee also reviewed the 2023-25 Legislatively Adopted State Budget for Education (see a breakdown of the budget), and heard updates from the Higher Education Coordinating Commission on higher education funding allocations, and from the newly formed Department of Early Learning and Care.

You can view the committee hearing here.

2023-2025 Education Budget Breakdown



Pursuing federal grant opportunities is one key piece of funding the Interstate Bridge Replacement program.  With state funds committed by both Oregon and Washington and tolling authorization secured, the program has all of the local funding committed that is needed to complete the program. Having the local match committed along with continued progress on the federal environmental review process, has positioned the program to be very competitive for federal funding opportunities.
In August, the program submitted an application for the USDOT National Infrastructure Project Assistance (Mega) program. It is anticipated that the notice of awards for the Mega grant program will be announced in late 2023 or early 2024. The Oregon-Washington grant application demonstrated the strong bi-state support for this effort, including over 130 letters of support, representing more than 160 entities that signed on to those letters.
The next grant the program plans to apply for is the Federal Highway Administration’s Bridge Investment Program. They are awaiting the announcement of the application details and timeline. The program is also pursuing funding through the Federal Transit Administration’s Capital Improvement Grant process.

Altogether, the program plans to leverage the state commitments to seek approximately $2.5 billion in federal funding from these three grant programs. These are highly competitive grant programs with specific eligibility criteria that the IBR program is highly qualified to apply for.

For More Information



There is a lot of information out there about the replacement of the I-5 Bridge, some accurate and some inaccurate. My goal in this newsletter is to try and provide the most up-to-date and important information you need to know about the replacement project. To that end, I am sharing some of the common myths out there about the project and including actual answers provided by the experts on the Interstate Replacement Program team.

♦ MYTH: A tunnel can solve the Interstate Bridge transportation problems as easily as a bridge.

  • FACT: A tunnel cannot be feasibly built within the footprint of I-5 without eliminating important connections to Hayden Island, downtown Vancouver and SR-14. It also comes with significantly more operational, environmental and historical resource impacts, and would cost more than a replacement bridge. For more information about the suitability of an immersed tube tunnel, view the Tunnel Concept Assessment.

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

  • FACT: 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.

♦ MYTH: You can retrofit or replace other regional bridges with IBR program money.

  • FACT: There is not one giant pot of money for the IBR program that can be used for other purposes like retrofitting bridges around the NW Oregon and SW Washington region. Funding for construction will come from a variety of sources, including state and federal transportation funding and tolling. All of these funding sources, whether they are dedicated by the state legislatures or competitive grants, must be approved specifically for the IBR program and must be used to address the identified transportation problems.

    Even if it were possible to divert funding allocated to the IBR program, the need for a local and regional transportation system lifeline able to withstand a significant earthquake would remain. By replacing the Interstate Bridge with a new seismically resilient, multimodal solution, the IBR program would contribute to seismically updating the regional corridor along with improving transit options and reducing safety and congestion issues on Interstate 5.


SECTION HEADER: Back to School


When I was young, I got involved in 4-H and raised sheep, swine, and beef cattle with my brothers and sisters.  I picked strawberries and green beans to make money for school clothes and pay for 4-H projects – these values of hard work and responsible spending have guided me throughout my life and I am truly grateful for my 4-H experience. If you have a child interested in 4-H, or you just want to learn more about the opportunities it provides, I recommend attending the 4-H Open House on October 7th. Continuing reading below for more information about the event.  



4H Flyer

In 4-H they believe in the power of young people. They are America's largest youth development organization — empowering nearly six million young people across the U.S. with hands-on learning experiences to grow, thrive, and lead for a lifetime. From rabbits to robotics, horses to heifers, archery to outdoor adventures, there is a 4-H activity for ALL youth.

If you are interested in learning more about 4-H in our area, you can attend the second annual Washington County 4-H Open House!

This free event is open to families with youth ages 5-18 and will include opportunities to learn about 4-H club opportunities and find a short-term 4-H class.

Other highlights will include:

  • hands-on learning opportunities
  • archery
  • hot lunch fundraiser for the 4-H Wagon Train program

Oct 7, 2023 10:00 am - 2:00 pm

Westside Commons (Washington County Fairgrounds)

801 NE 34th Ave, Hillsboro



Many thanks to all of the community members who contributed money or goods to the various school supply drives that took place this summer - I know the schools are so grateful for your support! 

One area of continuing need is backpacks for high school students. If you would like to help out, you can bring your donation of a new backpack(s) or cash or check toward the purchase to the Hillsboro School District Office (3083 NE 49th Place, Hillsboro). If you would like to make a donation online, you can do so through the District’s webstore. Select “General Donation” and write “high school backpacks” as the purpose. 

If you have questions or would like to coordinate a larger donation or volunteer event within the Hillsboro School District, please contact Volunteer Coordinator Shirley Rivera via email or by calling 503-844-1761.



At this week's Forest Grove School District School Board meeting, the members of the board were presented with a student art project which was completed during the Migrant Summer School program this past summer.

Butterfly Art Project

Butterfly Art Presentation


The Butterfly Project was presented to the Board by Danyelle Thomas, Summer School Administrator and Tom McCall Upper Elementary Assistant Principal. Students worked with art instructor Citlalli Nunez Barragan to design a Monarch Butterfly Project.  As you may know, the Monarch Butterfly is the only butterfly to make a two-way migration - a powerful and beautiful symbol of the students and families served by the summer program.




Fall is one of my favorite times of the year, especially here in Western Washington County where there are so many fantastic events and opportunities to engage with the community. I hope to see you at the Corn Roast and the Chalk Art Festival this Saturday in Forest Grove! It’s always a great time to come together and celebrate! Thank you to a the Forest Grove/Cornelius Chamber of Commerce and the Valley Art Association for all their work to make Saturday’s events possible.

After stopping at the Corn Fest and the Chalk Art Festival, head on over to Shute Park in Hillsboro and join Centro Cultural in their El Grito celebration and the start of Hispanic Heritage Month!



El Grito Festival Flyer

Mark your calendars for Centro Cultural's annual El Grito Community Festival, Sep 16, 2023, at Shute Park, from 2:00 PM to 7:00 PM. 

Celebrate the start of Hispanic Heritage Month with this family-friendly event that will feature mariachi, and ballet folklorico performances, Latin American gastronomy, artisanal vendors, a car show, community resources, and much more.

To learn more about Centro Cultural, visit their website. You can also read more about Hispanic Heritage Month here



Corn Roast Flyer

Fall festivities are upon Washington County, with two annual Forest Grove celebrations kicking off the season: the Corn Roast & Harvest Festival and the Sidewalk Chalk Art Festival.

Traditionally held on the same weekend, the city staple events will bring the community together on Saturday, Sept. 16.

Hosted by the Forest Grove Chamber, the Corn Roast started in 1964 as an initiative to introduce incoming educators to the community and celebrate the start of the fall harvest.

The event continues to recognize local educators, and partners with both Pacific University — which traditionally hosts the Corn Roast on its wooded downtown campus — and the Forest Grove School District to highlight the work being done in the community.

After residents grab some delectable corn, they can check out the vibrant art adorning the sidewalks during the 33rd annual Sidewalk Chalk Art Festival.

Cemented as the longest-running chalk art festival in Oregon, the event brings artists of all experiences together, giving people the chance to express themselves and show off their work on city sidewalks.

The festival is organized each year by the Valley Art Association, a local group supporting the arts in Washington County, which has a gallery on Forest Grove’s Main Street.

The Sidewalk Chalk Art Festival will start at 8 a.m. Sept. 16 and take place along Main Street; the Corn Roast will begin at 11 a.m. off College Way. Both events go until 4 p.m.

Chalk Art Festival Flyer




Bienestar Gala Flyer

Bienestar is a great organization that provides hope in our area by building housing and community for the wellbeing of Latinxs, immigrants, and all families in need. The organization builds the hard to find two-, three-, and four-bedroom affordable apartments that are crucial for a family with children. With the help of their trained community leaders, Promotores, their properties have become more than just a place for families to live. They've become thriving communities where families feel safe, seen, supported and heard – allowing residents to focus on building their future and achieving their dreams.

Bienestar is hosting their first annual Brilla Bienestar: a fundraising gala benefiting the hundreds of families who call Bienestar housing “Home” on September 28, 2023 at Hawk’s Run Estate.

Thursday, September 28, 2023

Doors open at 5:30pm – Program ends at 8:30pm

Location: Hawk’s Run Estate – 4200 NW Leisy Rd, Hillsboro




Virginia Garcia Fundraiser Flyer

The Mission of the Virginia Garcia Memorial Health Center is to provide high quality, comprehensive, and culturally appropriate primary health care to the communities of Washington and Yamhill counties with a special emphasis on migrant and seasonal farmworkers and others with barriers to receiving health care.

Virginia Garcia operates 6 primary care clinics, 6 dental clinics, 1 reproductive care clinic, and 5 school-based health centers serving over 52,000 patients across Washington and Yamhill counties.  In addition to these locations, Virginia Garcia operates a mobile clinic that is critical to providing care to those who need it, right where they live, work, and gather.  98% percent of patients are from low-income households, 42.7% are 21 years of age or younger, and 18% are farm or agricultural workers.

¡Prospera! is a joyous night benefiting Virginia Garcia Memorial Health Center.  In addition to raising needed funds, it is a celebration of their accomplishments from the past year and look to the future with optimism and hope.

¡Prospera! 2023 is on Friday, September 29 at 5:30pm at the Sentinel Hotel. 

Purchase tickets here!

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People in Oregon could start receiving the nation’s newest COVID-19 vaccines as soon as next week after a federal advisory body today endorsed the updated shots for everyone 6 months or older.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) Advisory Committee on Immunization Practice’s decision to recommend the updated mRNA vaccines comes a day after they were authorized by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Studies show the vaccines, formulated to target currently circulating variants, induce antibodies against a wide variety of COVID-19 viral variants and are expected to improve protection against serious consequences of COVID-19 infection, including hospitalization and death.

According to the CDC, the vaccines have been updated to include a monovalent (single) component that corresponds to the Omicron variant XBB.1.5 and related subvariants. They are approved for individuals 12 and older and authorized under emergency use for individuals 6 months through 11 years old.

The new vaccines’ availability on the commercial market means health care and vaccine providers must order and receive them directly from the manufacturers. During the pandemic, the federal government arranged for manufacturers to ship vaccines to state health agencies, which then managed orders and shipments for providers.

The new COVID-19 vaccines also are being made available at the start of the 2023–2024 respiratory season, when federal and state health agencies begin promoting influenza vaccinations as people send children back to school, head indoors to escape colder weather and gather for holiday celebrations. OHA tracks influenza and respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) activity each year between October and April when infection and hospitalization rates are highest.

A new RSV monoclonal antibody immunization for babies and toddlers is expected to be available commercially and to health care providers enrolled in the Vaccines for Children (VFC) program later this fall. A new RSV vaccine for adults 60 and older has been available on the commercial market for several weeks, and people should check with their insurance plan to make sure RSV vaccination is covered. The CDC has not announced a timeline for when the new vaccines will arrive in state-sponsored vaccine programs, such as Oregon’s Vaccine Access Program (VAP) which provides free vaccines for eligible children and adults.

Insurance plans will cover the 2023–2024 COVID-19 vaccine when they become available. The Affordable Care Act (ACA) requires insurers to cover most ACIP-recommended vaccines without cost sharing (such as co-pays or deductibles).

People can get the COVID-19 and influenza vaccines by contacting their health plan, health care provider, county public health clinic or federally qualified health center (FQHC). They can also search for a clinic by ZIP code by visiting vaccinefinder.org, or by calling 211 or visiting 211info.org.

In addition to getting vaccinated, health officials recommend people follow OHA and CDC guidance that empowers individuals at risk for severe illness to prepare for COVID-19 exposure and possible infection. The guidance includes:

  1. Knowing your risk. Talk to your health care provider about whether your age, vaccination status or medical condition makes you more susceptible to severe COVID-19 illness.

  2. Making a plan. Think about how you’ll protect yourself and those around you if you become ill with COVID-19, or if your community’s transmission level changes.

  3. Taking action when needed. Get tested if you have symptoms. If you test positive, contact your health care provider for treatment – such as with the antiviral medication Paxlovid for those at increased risk and those with severe illness – or consider telehealth options; let those around you know they may have been exposed; stay home until fever free for 24 hours and symptoms are improving; wear a high-quality, well-fitting mask for 10 days after you become sick or test positive; and avoid contact with high-risk individuals for 10 days.


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SECTION HEADER: Important Resources

My office has compiled a list of resources for our community. You can click on the images below to open a document with the relevant links. If you know of a resource that should be included here, or you need a resource and are having trouble finding the information you need, please do not hesitate to reach out to my office at rep.susanmclain@oregonlegislature.gov.


Education-related resources


Click here, or on the image to the right for a list of Education-related resources. This includes links to the Forest Grove and Hillsboro School Districts, the Oregon and US Departments of Education, information on how to pay for college, student lunch programs, and much more!


Wildfire Prevention Logo


Click hereor on the image to the right for important resources related to wildfire prevention and recovery. This list includes links to current fire restrictions and recreation site status maps, the Oregon Department of Forestry's fire prevention tip page, and important resources for wildfire victims. 


Resources for Veterans


Click here, or on the image to the right for a list of important resources for Veterans, including links and phone numbers to the various divisions of the Oregon Department of Veterans Affairs, local Washington County assistance, supportive and community-based groups like the American Legion, and mental health resources.  


State and Local Government Links


Click here, or on the image to the right for links to important local and state government pages, including the Hillsboro, Forest Grove, and Cornelius city government pages. You can also access the Oregon Legislature's page, and other important state agency sites, like the Department of Motor Vehicles, the Unemployment Department, and the Oregon Health Authority.

Important Resources


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Vineyard Picture


Yours truly,

McLain signature

Representative Susan McLain
House District 29

email: Rep.SusanMcLain@oregonlegislature.gov I phone: 503-986-1429
address: 900 Court St NE, H-493, Salem, OR 97301
website: http://www.oregonlegislature.gov/mclain