It has been over a year since we started down this COVID world. It amazes me how long this year feels and how fast it has gone by – at the same time. Many lessons have been learned in this past year, one of those in particular, Oregonians head to the coast to get away!
We had them in droves last year and it appears it will be the case again this year starting with spring break. Vacations at the coast are a special time for families and we are excited to have them celebrate in our restaurants, shops, hotels and vacation rentals. It is a good opportunity to show all Oregonians how special the coast is.
I am a member of the Coastal Caucus in the Legislature. This bipartisan group of Senators and Representatives are solely focused on our issues here on the coast. We listen to each other’s bills, discuss the merits and then try to advocate for those bills to become law. This has been very effective group, regardless of the partisanship that exists in around the state, the Coastal Caucus is focused on our interests.
As the Legislature moves into the next phase of policy making and budgeting, things will pick up tremendously in Salem. I will continue to advocate to open the building for public input as well as allow for video testimony from those that want to speak to a specific bill either in person or via video. Please use olis.oregonlegislature.gov site to keep up to date on hearings, and follow bills.
Oregon Office of Rural Health update
The Office of Rural Health (ORH) is pleased to announce the Oregon Behavioral Health Loan Repayment Program (OBHLRP) is now taking applications. The OBHLRP is part of the Oregon Provider Incentive Program, a partnership between the Oregon Health Authority (OHA) and the ORH. The Oregon Provider Incentive Program includes Health Care Provider Loan Repayment, Primary Care Loan Forgiveness Program and Scholars for a Healthy Oregon.
The OBHLRP supports rural and underserved communities in the recruitment and retention of high quality mental and behavioral health providers. These providers work in inpatient, outpatient, and community care settings serving patients regardless of their source of coverage (Medicaid, Medicare, private insurance, etc.). OBHLRP accepts applications from Qualified Mental Health Associates (QMHAs), Qualified Mental Health Professionals (QMHPs), pre-licensed and licensed mental and behavioral health care providers. In exchange for service at a qualifying practice site, participants receive tax free funds to repay qualifying educational loan debt.
Wildfire relief funding coming soon – hopefully
Last summers fires were devastating to our community. The Ways and Means Committee (which I am a member) passed a bill that would provide much needed funding to the counties affected by the wildfires this past year. We were able to get a large amount of funding for Lincoln County on the Coast. It sits on President Courtney’s desk for a full vote of the chamber. This money will provide critical resources in our recovery efforts. From rebuilding housing to restoring infrastructure, this money will go a long way toward helping our area bounce back and help people who were devastated by fires.
I will continue to work hard and find ways to help our communities recover.
Federal COVID Relief Funds Update
Last week, Congress passed the American Rescue Plan and President Biden signed it into law. The $1.9 trillion bill has substantial new funding for COVID-19 response, personal relief measures, small business assistance, and state and local funding. Some of you have already received your checks in your bank account. $5.8 billion is headed to Oregon in some capacity with most going to cities and counties or grants to families and businesses.
I would urge each of you to get into contact with the cities and counties to discuss their plans for allocation of the money received. Here is the list. Dollars are approximate until final numbers are released.
Lincoln City: $1,869,157
Depoe Bay: $305,547
Dunes City: $286,590
North Bend: $1,991,049
Coos Bay: $3,334,926
Tillamook: $5.24 million
Yamhill: $20.77 million
Polk: $16.696 million
Lincoln: $9.690 million
Lane: $74.100 million
Douglas: $21.524 million
Coos: $12.507 million
Latest COVID-19 information
As vaccinations continue to roll out across Oregon and the coast, here is some information on some potential side effects and what you should look for. Stay safe out there everyone.
State Senator Dick Anderson – Office S-303.