Review of Legislative Days and Winter Weather Safety Tips

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Representative Susan McLain


Dear Friends and Neighbors,

As I write this, it is beginning to snow again and I hope this finds you all safe and waiting out the elements at home. Last week, I was in Salem for January Legislative Days and it was a busy time, slightly interrupted by the threat of the winter storm. However, it was nice to catch up with my colleagues and continue to plan for the 2024 Legislative Session. Friday was the last day to submit and file our Legislative Concepts for 2024. Since it is a short session, each legislator gets the opportunity to file a maximum of two bills.  I have provided some highlights from committee meetings I attended in the “Legislative Updates” section of this newsletter.

It was nice to touch base with Oregon School Employees Association members and other advocacy groups during Legislative Days last week!

Rep. McLain with members of OSEA


Yesterday, we celebrated Martin Luther King Jr. Day. The day, typically represented as a day of service, was interrupted by ice and wind. Over 66,000 people in Washington County are still without power. However, I still wanted to take time to recognize the holiday and the leadership of Dr. King. People like Martin Luther King Jr. should be celebrated 365 days a year for the time and sacrifice they gave to better our nation. 

An MLK quote
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During the Interim, our Legislative Days sessions provide a key opportunity for Legislators, advocates, and members of the public to connect and stay up-to-date on important policy issues. Committees hold informational hearings on topics that may lead to legislation in the upcoming session, hear updates on previous implementations, receive reports from state agencies and task forces, and keep current on the critical issues that matter to Oregonians. The full Ways and Means Committee, of which I am a member, also votes to authorize grant applications and approve budget items for the upcoming Session. Below, I provide a few committee highlights from last week's Legislative Days meetings. If you click on the date listed under each committee name, you will be taken to that committee’s homepage where you can review a recording of the meeting.

I cannot wait to see my peers again soon for the Short Session!

Group photo of Democratic Caucus




We had a very full agenda for Ways and Means last Friday and voted on 67 items. Below, and broken down by subject area, are summaries of just a few of the important items we considered.


Early Literacy Success Community and Tribal Grants: We voted to acknowledge receipt of a report on the implementation plan for the Early Literacy Success Community and Tribal Grant program and recommended approving the plan and increasing Other Funds expenditure limitation by $9,999,999 in a budget reconciliation bill during the 2024 legislative session for implementation of the programs. The Department’s report contains plans for two grant programs: a $2 million non-competitive grant to tribal nations, and an $8 million competitive grant program for community-based organizations that offer early literacy training and programs for families and caregivers to use outside of the school setting. Grant funds will allow tribes and community-based organizations to provide culturally responsive books, literacy tutoring programs, and early literacy professional development for staff members and families. Outcome indicators will measure progress toward children’s language and early literacy skill development.

Early Intervention and Early Childhood Special Education: We voted to include an increase of $22.1 million for the Department of Education in a budget reconciliation bill during the 2024 legislative session to address caseload growth in the Early Intervention/Early Childhood Special Education program. The Early Intervention/Early Childhood Special Education program serves children with disabilities and their families to improve developmental status and increase school readiness for each child. Children are typically recommended for program screening by families, pediatricians, or early childhood educators at the point where they either are first seen for medical care or are first introduced to a child care setting. During the COVID-19 pandemic, caseload dropped significantly, but post-pandemic, caseloads have rebounded and now appear to be on a trajectory to exceed pre-pandemic levels this biennium. Current funding for the program in the 2023-25 biennium is $336 million total funds, a level that will not cover the program’s estimated 2023-25 caseload at the current rate of growth. The Department estimates that an additional $22.1 million would accommodate a caseload increase of 5% per year in the current biennium.

Educator Professional Development Programs: We voted to recommend including an increase of $6.1 million in the Other Funds expenditure limitation for the Higher Education Coordinating Commission (HECC) in a budget reconciliation bill during the 2024 legislative session for two educator development programs. The Student Success Act requires education stakeholders in Oregon to increase educator diversity and retention to achieve a pre-K-12 educator workforce that more closely reflects the demographics of students in Oregon’s schools. HECC administers two grant programs that work toward this goal. The first is the Oregon Teacher Scholars Program, which provides scholarships to candidates pursuing an education degree at eligible instate programs, including students studying to become school speech pathologists, counselors, psychologists, and other behavioral health professionals. The second program provides grants to public universities to recruit and retain future educators. Funding for the programs is from the Student Success Fund Statewide Education Initiatives Account through an agreement with the Department of Education. The $6.1 million in Other Funds expenditure limitation will allow HECC to expend the transferred funds to administer the two programs. 


Statewide Rehousing Program: We voted to recommend appropriating $39 million General Fund, with a corresponding decrease in the special purpose appropriation made to the Emergency Board for long term rental assistance, and increasing Other Funds expenditure limitation by $25 million for the Housing and Community Services Department in a budget reconciliation bill during the 2024 legislative session, for rehousing services and longer term rental assistance. The Housing and Community Services Department was directed to develop and report on a framework to deploy longer-term rental assistance in order to access a $39 million special purpose appropriation approved for that purpose. Key features of the framework submitted by the Department include the following:

* Rental assistance will be available for up to 24 months.

* In addition to rental assistance, the Department proposes to make these funds available to be used for rehousing services, which could include street outreach and supportive housing services, consistent with eligible rehousing services funded during the 2023 session.

* Eligibility criteria is defined more broadly than unsheltered homelessness, and there is not a limitation on income.

* 50% of funding will go to areas covered in Executive Order 23-02 and 50% will be available for the Balance of State.

* Funds will be administered using the Continuums of Care and Local Planning Group networks established in response to funds made available in HB 5019 and SB 5511, with 25% of funds set aside for allocation by culturally responsive organizations. The Urban League, the Immigrant and Refugee Community Organization, and the Worker Relief Coalition will receive a direct allocation of funds for distribution of rental assistance and rehousing services.


Internet Crimes Against Children: We voted to recommend appropriating $2.7 million General Fund and authorizing the establishment of 14 positions (6.50 FTE) for the Department of Justice, Criminal Justice Division, in a budget reconciliation bill during the 2024 legislative session for the expansion of the Internet Crimes Against Children Program. The program is currently staffed by two permanent full-time special agents that are funded with Federal Funds and two special agents and one criminal analyst funded with General Fund. This request would expand the program’s funding by 127% and the number of authorized positions by 280%. Outcomes from this investment include clearing the investigation backlog, increasing the number of in-house cybertip investigations, follow-up on referrals to local law enforcement, doubling the number of law enforcement trainings, and adding additional educational presentations at schools. 

Oregon Military Department Capital Construction Limitation Increases: We voted to recommend including an increase of $34,010,000 in Federal Funds for capital construction limitation for the Oregon Military Department in a budget reconciliation bill during the 2024 legislative session for previously approved construction projects. The increase in Federal Funds expenditure limitation is to accommodate additional funding available from the National Guard Bureau for federal fiscal year 2023 for existing projects at the Rees Training Center, Owen Summers building in Salem, and the Washington County Readiness Center. Of the total, $29.5 million is for the Rees Training Center project, which is 100% federally funded.

Grid Resiliency: We voted to recommend including an increase of $4.7 million in Federal Funds expenditure limitation and authorizing the establishment of two permanent positions for the Department of Energy in a budget reconciliation bill during the 2024 legislative session to administer the Grid Resilience State and Tribal Formula grant. The Department previously received legislative approval to apply for the federal Grid Resilience grant and was subsequently awarded $19.9 million for the program’s first two years. The funding will be sub-granted to eligible entities, such as electric utility providers, to prevent power outages and enhance the resilience of the electric grid.

Resilient Food Systems: We voted to recommend including an increase of $4.5 million in Federal Funds expenditure limitation and authorizing the establishment of two limited duration positions for the Department of Agriculture in a budget reconciliation bill during the 2024 legislative session to support resilient food systems, specialty crops, and food safety. The expenditure limitation is related to two U.S. Department of Agriculture grants, for which the Oregon Department of Agriculture previously received legislative approve to apply. The first grant is from the Resilient Food Systems Infrastructure Program, which partners with states to strengthen infrastructure in the middle of the supply chain for farm and food businesses. Federal Funds expenditure limitation of $3.7 million and two limited duration positions will support the issuance of sub-grants to eligible Oregon businesses. The second grant is from the Specialty Crop Block Grant Program, which is already supported in the Department’s budget. However, the 2022 award amount exceeded the level estimated during 2023-25 budget development process and an increase of $800,000 in Federal Funds expenditure limitation is necessary to spend the available revenue.


State Small Business Credit Initiative: We voted to recommend including an increase of $29.2 million in the Federal Funds expenditure limitation for the Oregon Business Development Department, in a budget reconciliation bill during the 2024 legislative session, for receipt of the second tranche of the State Small Business Credit Initiative grant award. The U.S. Treasury awarded a total of $83.5 million to Oregon in August 2022 for the State Small Business Credit Initiative. Funds are to be used for loans that support small business startup or expansions. The funding is made available in three separate disbursements, which can be requested when the majority of the previous disbursement has been obligated or expended. This second tranche is expected to be deployed by late 2024 or early 2025. In total, the Department anticipates that the $83.5 million federal grant award will benefit 1,000 small businesses by 2032, with a goal of creating or retaining approximately 5,000 jobs.




The Joint Committee on Transportation ended up meeting via Teams on Friday, due to the incoming winter storm. We were lucky enough to keep to our original agenda and hear from important voices in the Transportation space. Former Congressman Peter DeFazio, former U.S. Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood, Metro Council President Lynn Peterson, and Former Washington Governor Christine Gregoire were among the speakers. This group shared valuable information regarding the Cascadia Corridor High Speed Rail project that would run from Eugene to Vancouver, B.C.

The Joint Transportation Committee also heard an update on Airport Resiliency (House Bill 3058 from 2023). This update and report was provided by the Oregon Department of Aviation. Airports and their accessibility are important in the event a large natural disaster or earthquake in Oregon, something that scientists have been predicting for years.

Our meeting wrapped up with a discussion on Innovation in Transportation Technology. This section of the meeting included important presentations from Toyota, the City of Pendleton, and others about new and developing technologies that will affect the way our transportation system operates in the future.




2024 Rep. McLain and Joint Committee on Transportation Bills


With the Legislative Concept (LC) drafts being due last Friday, we have now gotten back what bill numbers will be assigned to our individual concepts. Above, I have listed my two personal bills and the three committee bills that the Joint Committee on Transportation will be working on this session. Once bills are introduced at the start of session, I will share the OLIS link for each bill so that you can track them as they make their way through the Legislative Process.



Photo of Governor Tina Kotek

Gov. Tina Kotek announced that the state exceeded its goals to add more shelter beds, house more people experiencing homelessness and prevent more evictions. Governor Kotek said that communities created 1,032 low-barrier shelter beds across the state, surpassing the 600-bed goal, 1,293 households moved into homes, exceeding the initial goal of 1,200, and 8,886 households facing eviction remained housed, surpassing the 8,750-household goal. The work was funded by an unprecedented emergency $155 million approved by the Legislature early in 2023.

The Oregonian published a full article on the goals that Oregon both reached and exceeded in this past year. That article can be found here.

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If 2023 had an overarching theme for the Interstate Bridge Replacement (IBR) program, it would be “connections.”

IBR made thousands of connections with new people curious about the future of the Interstate Bridge. They connected with dozens of community groups, neighborhood associations and local businesses eager to learn and provide feedback. And they continued to foster a close connection with our partners and elected leaders who are guiding the process and supporting success.

As we enter 2024, the IBR program is taking a moment to reflect, not just on the significant milestones they passed this year, but all the relationships they gained. They engaged as many people as possible while releasing new conceptual visualizations of potential bridge configurations and types, launched a second round of their mini-grant program and began a new a video series to explain technical information in an easy to digest format. All these milestones were significant in their own right, but none were as consequential in moving the program forward as securing the $1 billion funding commitment from Oregon and the award of $600 million from the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Mega Grant program.  

Click on the image below to view the I-5 Bridge 2023 Highlight Video!

Video link: 2023 in Review for I-5 Bridge Program
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An ice storm warning is in effect from 2 p.m. today to 4 a.m. Wednesday. Freezing rain will arrive in our area by 3-4 p.m. One model brings the rain in as soon as 2 p.m. but that’s an outlier. Freezing rain should start to taper by 4 a.m. Wednesday. Expect .30-.40 inches of ice accumulation. It’s possible for areas on the west side of the county to get a slightly more accumulation.

There is also a wind advisory in effect for the metro region through 7 p.m. today. The advisory mentions east winds 10-20 mph with guests to 40; however, winds at this level may be isolated to the Gorge and east metro area. East Washington County/Beaverton area may still see 20-30 mph gusts. Winds should taper by 6 p.m. and end by 7 p.m.

Temperatures should warm above freezing by 5-6 a.m. Wednesday. We’ll reach a high of 44°F in Hillsboro on Wednesday and should start a pattern of valley rain/mountain snow over the next several days. There are currently no flooding concerns due to rain and snow/ice melt.

Power Outages: There are currently 11,000 PGE customers without power in Washington County, mostly focused on the east side of the county, from Cedar Mill/West Hills south to Tigard. PGE now has 1500 field personnel working to restore power.




Transportation Safety Action Plan header

The City of Hillsboro is updating its Transportation Safety Action Plan (TSAP) to improve safety for all users on our streets. Every year, people are seriously injured or killed in traffic crashes, with those most vulnerable - biking, rolling, and walking - at greatest risk. Traffic crashes impact not only the people directly involved, but extend to families, friends, and workplaces. 

This plan will frame the next five years of transportation strategy in Hillsboro with the safety goal of zero traffic deaths and serious injuries on our streets by 2035. This planning effort will use the latest research and technology to inform how we understand and address Hillsboro’s traffic safety issues. Most importantly, this work needs the input of the people who live and work here in Hillsboro.

In the next couple of weeks, the City of Hillsboro will be hosting three open houses to share an update on the plan with the community. There is one in person option and two virtual webinars scheduled for community engagement. More information about TSAP can be found here.

TSAP Open House
Date: Wednesday, January 24th
Time: 5:30 p.m. - 7:00 p.m.
Location: Hidden Creek Community Center

Join us to learn more about the TSAP update process, ask questions, and share your thoughts.

TSAP Virtual Open Houses
Date: Wednesday, January 17th
Time: 6:00 p.m. - 7:00 p.m.
Zoom: Please click the link below to join the webinar:(External link) link)

Date: Thursday, January 18th
Time: 12:00 p.m. - 1:00 p.m.
Zoom: Please click the link below to join the webinar:(External link)



The Forest Grove School District is setting aside nearly $48 million as it prepares to construct the replacement building for Cornelius Elementary School. Funding for the new elementary school was approved by voters living within the district in November 2022 as part of a $121.9 million bond, which targets safety improvements, repairs for aging schools, and increased technology and PE opportunities for students, among other initiatives.

The decision to replace the current building stemmed from infrastructural issues. Built in 1943, the school has antiquated facilities and limited capacity for its expanding student population.

You can learn more about the process of building a new Cornelius Elementary School here.



School Closures and Delays Graphic

School districts typically send out closure and delay notifications via email, phone calls, or on the news. However, you can also check a school district's announcement page to find out more about closures and delays.

Forest Grove School District's announcement page can be found here.

Hillsboro School District will post about delays and closures at the top of their website, which can be found here.

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Section Header: Winter Weather Safety Tips


This weekend, we saw Oregon's first snow and ice storm of the season. Many people throughout the Metro area are still without power, school districts are closed, and essential services like TriMet's MAX train are unable to function with the poor weather and downed trees. There is a Winter Storm warning in affect from this afternoon until early tomorrow morning, bringing the possibility of further snow, ice, and strong winds. Below, I have listed important tips and resources to keep in mind for this winter storm and future storms. I hope that you are all staying safe and warm.



Due to dangerously cold weather in the forecast, Washington County's severe weather shelters are open 24 hours until conditions improve to ensure no one seeking shelter will be turned away.

  • Community members can walk up or be dropped off, no need to call or sign up.
  • No one will be turned away. 
  • Pets are allowed — please be prepared to work with shelter staff.
  • Hot meals are provided.
  • For help with transportation to a shelter, please call 503-846-4722.

Washington County currently has three Severe Weather Shelters. There are two in Hillsboro, one at Wingspan Event & Conference Center (801 NE 34th Avenue 97124) and one at The Salvation Army Building (1440 SE 21st Ave 97123). Beaverton also has a Severe Weather Shelter at the Beaverton Community Center (12350 SW 5th St 97005). 

More information about these Severe Weather Shelters can be found on the City of Hillsboro Website, here.



While experts say the safest bet when roads turn snowy or slick is to stay home, if you must drive, there are some safety basics to keep in mind:

  • Check for road conditions before you travel. This has live camera feeds.
  • Remove any snow or ice from the entire car, not only so you can see better, but to avoid sending flying bits of snow into vehicles that may be behind you on the road.
  • Turn on your headlights! Even during the day.
  • Drive at a slow, steady rate of speed, and avoid heavy use of brakes or acceleration.
  • Exercise Caution and be prepared for unusual circumstances.

More winter driving safety tips can be found in this Oregonian article.


Cartoon Photo of a car in snow


Last winter, we saw first hand how snow and ice storms can cause power outages. These outages can sometimes last hours or days. When your power goes out and you don’t have an automatic standby generator, a portable generator is a handy backup to provide power until electricity is restored

Lowes has a step-by-step page on how to use a portable generator. These instructions can be found at this link.

More power outage safety tips can be found here.

Cartoon Portable Generator
Horizontal BarImportant 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



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!


Education Resources


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.


Prevent Wildfires


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.


Veteran Resources


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.


State & Local Government Links
Know who to call when you need help
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It's starting to snow again at my house in Forest Grove!

Snow at Rep. McLain's House


Yours truly,


Representative Susan McLain
House District 29

email: I phone: 503-986-1429
address: 900 Court St NE, H-493, Salem, OR 97301