October 2023 Newsletter

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Hello Friends,

Happy fall! Autumn has always been my favorite season – the crispness of the air, the tree in our front yard turning a brilliant yellow, college football, down comforters, hot chocolate, sweaters and boots, and my favorite holiday – Halloween (don’t miss Boo Barn at Petersen Barn on Oct. 27th)! Last weekend, I had a fabulous time marching in the first Eugene BEAM BRiGHT parade on Saturday with Active Bethel Community neighborhood association. The parade had lots of creative light-up costumes, bikes, floats, and dancers – it was just the thing after the cloudy eclipse and the Ducks’ loss!

Read on for a recap of September Legislative Days (including the introduction of a new committee), news about Sacred Heart University District’s proposed closure, and more.

September Legislative Days


In between our official annual legislative sessions, the Oregon Legislature holds several days of committee hearings, typically about once per quarter. This is an opportunity for legislative committees to get updates on the implementation of key legislation, hear about emerging issues, and start laying the groundwork for future bills. Since we’re not in session, we can’t vote on any policies, but it’s a great opportunity for committees to spend time digging into important issues.  

The last Legislative Days were September 27-29, and the next will be November 6-8. Here are some key takeaways from the September meetings for the two committees I serve on.

Interim Committee on Housing and Homelessness 

During the 2023 legislative session, the Legislature took unprecedented action to address the state's affordable housing crisis. The $2 billion Housing Affordability and Supply budget (HB2001/HB 5019) funded new and existing homeless shelters, increased production of affordable housing, took eviction prevention measures including rental assistance, and encouraged innovative practices to increase housing production. These investments are already yielding results – during legislative days, we got an update on some of the work from the state’s housing agency, Oregon Housing and Community Services, the Housing Production Advisory Council, and others.

Addressing Homelessness

Funds allocated in HB 5019 have already prevented about 1,300 evictions and increased shelter bed capacity by funding the rehabilitation and operation of existing facilities while supporting the operation of programs like Project Turnkey. HB 5019 also included funding for homeless navigation centers – these centers are essential to helping unsheltered Oregonians with the services they need to get off the streets and into stable housing. 

I’m especially proud of the impact that the funding for the Youth Experiencing Homelessness Program (YEHP) is having. Whether someone is homeless as a youth is the number one predictor of adult homelessness. Over the last few years, YEHP has successfully expanded its capacity, helping thousands of homeless youth – in July, it sent out grant funding to over 40 organizations across the state, including 8 organizations in Lane County.

Housing Supply

Getting people off the streets is only part of the challenge – we also need to build enough housing to meet the needs of Oregonians, now and in the future. The lack of available housing is driving a housing affordability crisis, contributing to homelessness, and limiting the ability of workers to live near where they are needed (including those in health care, education, and public safety).

According to the Oregon Housing Needs Analysis (OHNA), we need to build about 140,000 homes to meet the needs of our current population, and if we don’t prioritize housing production, that shortage will grow by 440,000 units in the next 20 years. 

On her first day in office, Governor Kotek established The Housing Production Advisory Council (HPAC), composed of legislators and industry experts. The HPAC is tasked with evaluating existing practices and making strategic recommendations to the legislature on how best to jumpstart our housing production. 

During my time as a legislator, addressing our shortage of homes has been one of my top priorities. HPAC’s presentation during September legislative days provided important perspectives for the 2024 session and beyond. I look forward to reviewing their final report before the end of the year and working with my colleagues, agencies, and stakeholders to increase the number of homes built so that every Oregonian has an affordable place to call home.

Interim House Committee on Rules

Secretary of State Update


The Rules Committee meeting was a chance for legislators to hear from our new Secretary of State, Secretary LaVonne Griffin-Valade! Secretary Griffin-Valade introduced herself and provided an update on the transition in leadership at the Secretary of State’s office. Her resume speaks for itself, but I know her experience as an auditor, advocate, and educator will serve her well in her new role and will help restore the public’s trust in the office.

Legislation that the Secretary of State proposes is often handled by the Rules Committee, which I chair – I look forward to working with Secretary Griffin-Valade and her team in the coming session!

Joint Interim Committee on the Addiction and Community Safety Response 

Nearly everyone has a friend or family member who’s been impacted by the national addiction crisis. What we’re seeing in communities all over the country right now is unacceptable. Last month, the legislature announced the creation of a new committee dedicated to addressing the ongoing addiction and behavioral health crisis in Oregon: the Joint Interim Committee On Addiction and Community Safety Response. The work of this committee will help inform legislation in the upcoming short legislative session and beyond.

New Minority Leader / Leadership Team

Last month, House Republicans announced that Representative Jeff Helfrich (HD 52 – Hood River) will be the new leader of their caucus. I met with Leader Helfrich one his first day to talk about our jobs as caucus leaders (and the many challenges that come with them!). I’ve worked with him in the past on issues related to housing and homelessness, and I know that he’s interested in finding practical solutions to tough problems.

House Republicans also elected Representative Mark Owens (District 60) as Deputy Leader, and Representative Kim Wallan (District 6) as Whip. Each of these legislators played a key role bringing Republican perspectives to important issues that we tackled last session – Rep. Helfrich on housing/homelessness, Rep. Wallan on semiconductors, and Rep. Owens on water/drought. As we prepare for the short legislative session, I’m looking forward to working with all three of them in their new roles.

Sacred Heart University District Update

As many of you know, PeaceHealth has announced its intention to close the Sacred Heart University District (SHUD) Hospital Emergency Room and several other services offered at that campus in December. Many of my constituents have contacted me about the closure – I share their significant concerns about how it will impact our access to life-saving care, particularly in West Eugene, and how the proposed timing of the closure is wholly insufficient for our community to plan for a transition.

I live in the Churchill neighborhood in West Eugene, and in the event of an emergency, the closure of the SHUD Emergency Room would add critical minutes of travel time for my neighbors and I. PeaceHealth has also announced that they plan to move the West Eugene Urgent Care clinic downtown as part of their transition plan – making critical healthcare even less accessible for our area. And in the event of an earthquake or other major catastrophe, it could be difficult for anyone living south or west of the Willamette River to cross the river to access the hospitals in Springfield. 

Since PeaceHealth announced its proposal, I’ve met with PeaceHealth, members of Governor Kotek’s administration, the Oregon Health Authority (OHA), Eugene area legislators, and the Oregon Nurses Association representatives. I’ve appreciated the willingness of all parties to discuss this issue and try to find a better path forward. But unfortunately, PeaceHealth is still moving forward with a plan to close SHUD, open up a nearby urgent care facility, and retain the inpatient behavioral health services (for now).

As this situation continues to unfold, my priority is to ensure the closure has the least possible impact on care in our community. My office will continue tracking developments closely, and I will provide more updates on this topic as they become available. 

Free COVID Test Program Restarts / COVID Vaccines


At-home tests and COVID vaccines are a great tool to slow the spread of COVID-19 and keep your family safe this fall and winter. As of late last month, every U.S. household is once again eligible to receive four more free COVID-19 rapid tests delivered directly to their home – you can order new tests here.


Updated COVID vaccines for the 2023-2024 winter season are now available at many pharmacies around the state – you can schedule appointments online at the links below. It’s also a great time to get your annual flu shot since most places let you schedule both in one appointment.

Domestic Violence Awareness Month

Domestic Violence Survivor Month honors the resilience of survivors and raises awareness about domestic violence in our communities. It empowers survivors to share their stories, educates communities, promotes change through advocacy, fosters engagement, and stands in solidarity with survivors. This month highlights the importance of supporting survivors and working to prevent domestic violence, reminding us that it's a public health issue that affects us all.

There are several organizations in our community dedicated to supporting domestic violence survivors and raising awareness, including:

  • Hope and Safety Alliance: 541-485-8232. This local nonprofit offers a range of services, including a 24-hour crisis hotline, emergency shelter, support groups, legal advocacy, and resources for survivors.
  • Looking Glass Community Services: 541-484-4428 - While primarily known for their work with at-risk youth, Looking Glass also provides services for domestic violence survivors, including counseling and support.
  • Sexual Assault Support Services (SASS): 541-343-7277 - SASS offers support for survivors of sexual assault and domestic violence, including counseling, crisis intervention, and educational programs.
  • Center for Family Development: 541-342-8437 - They provide counseling and support services for survivors of domestic violence, including crisis intervention, safety planning, and resources for healing.
  • University of Oregon Counseling Services: 541-346-3227 - If you're a student at the University of Oregon, counseling services can be helpful for survivors of domestic violence.

If you or someone you know is in immediate danger, don't hesitate to call 911. Additionally, the National Domestic Violence Hotline (1-800-799-SAFE) is available 24/7 for confidential support and resources.

Please don’t hesitate to reach out to my office if you need help navigating local or state government services or if you have thoughts about bills for the 2024 legislative session. Your input is valuable as I consider what to prioritize in the coming months.

Yours truly,

Fahey signature

Capitol Phone: 503-986-1414
Capitol Address: 900 Court St. NE, H-295, Salem, Oregon 97301
Email: Rep.JulieFahey@oregonlegislature.gov
Website: http://www.oregonlegislature.gov/fahey