This week my team and I have worked hard to continue moving our bills forward and connect constituents with resources and services. I am happy to say that all of my office’s bills have now been filed and are available to view online at OLIS.
As we are early into the legislative session, there has not been much movement in terms of legislation, but as we continue our work I promise that I will update you on both my bills and the other important bills reaching my desk.
As a physician who has treated COVID-19 patients since the virus entered Oregon early in 2020, it is an honor to chair the House Subcommittee on COVID-19, which met for the first time on 1/27. My goals are to discuss and prepare policy and provide oversight of our executive branch; focus on testing, tracing, vaccination, and public health safety protocols; and maintain an equity lens.
During the meeting (which can be viewed here), Oregon Health Authority Director Pat Allen provided an overview and update on the state’s vaccine distribution. SEIU 503 Executive Director Melissa Unger updated the committee on the progress of engaging with low-income communities and BIPOC workers during the vaccination process. Lastly, Dr. Lancioni, a professor of pediatric medicine at OHSU, explained the COVID-19 vaccines and how they work.
On 2/1, the subcommittee will be holding a joint meeting with the House Committee on Human Services to discuss COVID-19 in long-term care settings and adult foster homes. As a part of that, we want to hear from you. If you wish to submit testimony or testify live, you can sign up at the subcommittee page by selecting 2/1 on the right-hand sidebar of the page. Our time is short so please be mindful of the specific content of the day. We also must ask that you submit your testimony in written form if you are not able to articulate all of your points within our three-minute, live testimony limit. That said, we welcome and value the input of our constituents and thank you in advance for helping us make our important decisions.
Virtual Coffee Conversations
We hosted our first Virtual Coffee Conversation on January 23 to great success with over 60 RSVPs! Our next coffee will be Saturday, February 6, at 9 am. These events will be posted on Facebook and YouTube afterwards for the benefit of those who can’t join us live. Please look to our newsletter and Facebook page to find the link to register for our Coffee Conversations.
COVID cases have been trending downward in recent days. This is a great sign that all the work Oregonians have done to continue to wear masks, stay socially distant, and remain at home as much as possible to stay safe is working! We can’t help but feel hopeful now that there are vaccinations, but of course we must still refrain from gathering with family and friends until we have vaccinated the majority of Oregonians.
As of 1/25, educators are eligible to receive the COVID vaccine and, starting 2/7, Oregonians 80 years and older will be eligible. To find out if you are eligible and to schedule an appointment, visit https://covidvaccine.oregon.gov/, scroll down and click “Let’s get started.”
In December, the Governor alongside the Oregon Health Authority introduced a new county level approach to easing COVID restrictions based on county risk level. As of today, both Washington and Multnomah Counties are at extreme risk of COVID-19 spread. Here is where you can see what risk level your county falls into, and what the guidance is for activities under that risk level.
Washington County Library
The Washington County Cooperative Library Services’ has changed their policies to remove overdue fines on all library accounts and restore access to the roughly 12,000 accounts which were suspended due to overdue fines.
Business Oregon Small Business Resources
For those of you that run small businesses, Business Oregon has created a landing page for COVID-19 and Wildfire resources, you can view that here.
If you’d like to support the major vaccination effort, please consider volunteering to help with vaccinations! We are looking for medical and non-medical volunteers in all parts of Oregon to assist with the distribution of the COVID-19 vaccine. If you are a licensed and certified health care professional in the state of Oregon, including physicians, nurses, pharmacists, Emergency Medical Technicians (EMTs), and behavioral health providers, you can register with SERV-OR.
If you are a non-medical individual interested in volunteering, you can sign up with my office. Please note that we are collecting volunteer names but will not be operationalizing the list and reaching out to those that sign up. Further instruction will come from one of the metro area health systems who are collaborating on vaccine distribution (Kaiser Permanente, Legacy, Providence, and OHSU). We appreciate your patience as the health systems continue to get through the list of volunteers.
The best way to stay informed and connect with my legislative work is through my Facebook page (State Representative Maxine Dexter), my Twitter account (@RepDexterOR), and my Instagram (@RepDexterOR).In addition, please feel free to reach out to my office at Rep.MaxineDexter@OregonLegislature.gov.
I am honored to represent you in Salem, and look forward to continuing to serve you and this amazing community we share.
Maxine Dexter, MD
Oregon State Representative
House District 33
Congressman Earl Blumenauer’s office has compiled an exhaustive list of COVID resources here.
National Suicide Prevention Hotline | 1-800-273-TALK (8255)- Crisis Text Line | Text HOME to 741741
Oregon Youthline | Call 877-968-8491 or text teen2teen to 839863 between 4pm - 10pm to text with another teen.
National Youth Crisis Hotline | 1-800-442-HOPE (4673)
Housing assistance: Community Action helps pay rent and help to get people in need of housing. (https://caowash.org)
Housing assistance: Salvation Army Female Emergency Shelter serves women in the community who are experiencing homelessness. (https://safes.salvationarmy.org)
Housing assistance, utility assistance, food assistance: United Way of the Columbia-Willamette provides access to critical services like housing assistance and utility assistance and access to food. (https://www.unitedway-pdx.org)
Food assistance, water bill assistance, and grants, utility assistance: Care To Share coordinates assistance to families and individuals who seek emergency food and other basic necessities. (http://www.caretosharehelp.org)
Food assistance, housing assistance, utility assistance, disability assistance: Department of County Human Services ensures that everyone can reach their potential and contribute to communities. (https://multco.us/dchs)
Follow Representative Dexter on social media to stay connected!