March 26, 2020 10:50 a.m.
All 7 members of the Oregon Congressional Delegation have sent a letter to the White House in support of Oregon Governor Kate Brown’s request for a major disaster declaration for the entire state as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The letter was signed by Senators Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley and Representatives Peter DeFazio, Greg Walden, Kurt Schrader, Suzanne Bonamici, and Earl Blumenauer.
A release from the delegation said that in addition to the serious and growing health toll from the virus, its spread has generated massive and unprecedented disruptions, including shuttering schools and closing businesses. They also noted that Governor Brown fully activated Oregon’s Emergency Coordination Center in early March and has since ordered Oregonians to stay home and for non-essential businesses to cease operations.
The letter said the lawmakers have heard from rural health clinics, hospitals and providers that are having to lay off employees due to reduced patient care and declining revenues. The letter said frontline health care workers have said they are stressed from the lack of testing kits and personal protective equipment while business owners say they are suffering financially and wondering how to put food on the table.
The lawmakers letter said “Oregon is a resilient and forward-thinking state, and Oregonians are working hard to secure shelter for people who are homeless and medical care for people who need it”. They said “no state will be able to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic alone, which is why we urge you to approve Governor Brown’s full request for assistance”.