April 10, 2020
News & Notes
Congresswoman Bonamici to talk with WEA members & Wyden is back on
Suzanne Bonamici
   WEA members will have the opportunity to hear from Congresswoman Suzanne Bonamici next Thursday.
   The Congresswoman will be sharing her insight into the pandemic response, aid for small businesses, and what she is hearing in terms of a 4th recovery package.
   Bonamici will also be answering members' questions.
   Registration for this event will be in members' inboxes soon.
   Yesterday members were anticipating hearing from Senator Ron Wyden, but he had to postpone his attendance due to an urgent vote-by-mail meeting.
   Instead, Wyden will be joining WEA for a video conference on Wednesday at 9:00 a.m.
   If you are a member and had already registered for yesterday's event, your registration is still good.
   For those members who have not registered, there is limited space available.
   You can reach out to Teresa Dunham for more information on either the event with Bonamici or Wyden.
WEA committee members learn more about homeless ballot measure
   Earlier this week a joint committee meeting was held virtually to learn about Metro's May ballot measure to provide services for the homeless.
   HereTogether's Mitch Hornecker and Metro Councilor Juan Carlos Gonzalez spoke in favor of the measure, which is anticipated to collect $250 million per year to fund homeless services.
   Hornecker said the HereTogether coalition consists of 150 organizations in the tri-county Portland area.
   He shared how nearly 100 Multnomah County homeless died in 2018 and how the wait for subsidized housing is anywhere from two to 10 years.
   The ballot measure's goal is to expand case management, provide more clinical services, increase income opportunities for individuals, prevent homelessness, and expand housing opportunities.
   Passage of the ballot measure would result in a 1 percent tax on those in income brackets above $125,000 individually or $200,000 as a couple.
   It would also be a 1 percent tax on net profits of larger businesses.
   Next week WEA will have another joint virtual committee meeting to hear from Alliance for an Affordable Metro, which opposes the ballot measure.
   To see HereTogether's PowerPoint slides, click here .
Economists try to look at a post COVID-19 economy
   There are different schools of thought when it comes to the economy right now and how it will evolve.
   This week Oregon's Office of Economic Analysis shared State Economist Mark McMullen's "square root recovery" theory, where the economy takes a deep dive, but then bounces up to conditions resembling a bad recession and slowly moderates from there.
   D uring a U of O Q & A session, University of Oregon Economist Tim Duy talked about current conditions, and he also explained in a Bloomberg opinion piece that he expects a post COVID-19 economy to rebound slowly like turning up a dimmer light switch.
   Duy also explained in his blog today how no is to blame for this downturn.
   When it comes to commercial real estate, CBRE forecasters are anticipating the industry will take 12-30 months to recover, depending on the sector.
   At the same time, some skeptics are pointing out that this is a time unlike anything we've ever experienced before and therefore, it's nearly impossible to predict the outcome.
Intel commits $50 million to fight pandemic with a technology response
   In response to this pandemic, Intel has committed $50 million to a technology initiative to advance the fight against the coronavirus.
   The pandemic response technology initiative virtually touches a number of areas impacted by the coronavirus, including technology in hospitals for diagnosing and treating patients with COVID-19, help for those distance learning, and innovation funding to support requests from Intel's external partners and employee-led relief projects that address critical needs in their communities.
   It is quite an expansive initiative with a lot of details.
   Intel's CEO Bob Swan said, "The world faces an enormous challenge in fighting COVID-19. Intel is committed to accelerating access to technology that can combat the current pandemic and enable new technology and scientific discovery that better prepares society for future crises. We hope that by sharing our expertise, resources, and technology, we can help to accelerate work that saves lives and expands access to critical services around the world during this challenging time.”
   To learn more about the pandemic response technology initiative, click here.
I-5 Rose Quarter project gets a little push forward
   In transportation news, the Oregon Transportation Commission (OTC) and Metro took steps to move the I-5 Rose Quarter Improvement Project f orward last week.
   The OTC unanimously agreed to continue with the federal Environmental Assessment process.
   Several environmental and neighborhood groups were pressing the OTC to do an Environmental Impact Statement instead, which is a more in-depth study and could have delayed the project further.
   Metro also voted last week to provide ODOT with $129 million to to advance the Rose Quarter project's preliminary engineering and right of way phase.
   At the same time, Metro is working on other aspects it wants to see in the project.
   The project is expected to increase capacity and safety on I-5 through the Rose Quarter area - deemed, not only a local bottleneck, but one of the nation's worst.
   To read the latest about the OTC decision, click here .
Odds & Ends
  • Nike teamed up with OHSU to fulfill an urgent need for Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) in the form of full-face shields and powered, air-purifying respirator (PAPR) lenses to protect against the coronavirus (COVID-19). To read about Nike's efforts, click here. 

  • Senator Merkley and his staff have provided WEA with an updated list of lenders accepting applications for the Paycheck Protection Program. Click here to see it.

  • The City of Sherwood recently doubled its funding of the Small Business Emergency Relief Grant Program from $100,000 to $200,000. City Manager Joe Gall said nearly all of the money has been sent to 94 grantees.

  • Worksystems is looking for qualified organizations, who can provide career coaching services for eligible low-income Washington County residents and eligible residents interested in the construction trades. Click here to learn more.

  • Looking for some entertainment this weekend? The Washington County Visitors Association is offering some virtual events. There are tours, theater, trivia nights, and paint classes. Click here to check it out.

  • With time on your hands at home, are you looking to develop a hobby in genealogy? Washington County Cooperative Library Service is offering online access to the Ancestry Library.
Events coming up
Wed. 4/15 Rescheduled Video Conference with Senator Wyden at 9:00 a.m. If you registered for the previous time, your link should still be good. If you are a member who has not registered, please contact Teresa Dunham .

Th. 4/16 A video conference with Congresswoman Suzanne Bonamici at 11:00 a.m. Registration information will be in WEA members' inboxes soon.

Fri. 4/17 a WEA Joint committee meeting will feature Alliance for an Affordable Metro, which will present its view on the Metro homeless measure at 12:00 p.m.

Wed. 4/22 WEA Board of Directors tentative meeting

To see more of the WEA calendar, please visit the WEA website .