April 24, 2020
News & Notes
A federal $484 billion COVID-19 aid package is on its way
   Earlier today President Trump signed the 4th COVID-19 relief package for the nation, helping to support employers and hospitals.
   The House of Representatives passed the bill yesterday, using safety precautions such as wearing masks and social distancing during voting.
   The package totals $484 billion with the majority of it going to replenish the Paycheck Protection Program created in the last relief legislation.
   The funding is allocated to the following:

  • $310 billion to the Paycheck Protection Program - $60 billion of it is set aside for community lenders or small banks to handle,

  • $75 billion to hospitals - to help healthcare facilities overwhelmed right now,

  • $60 billion for emergency disaster loans through the Small Business Administration - this expands the previous program, allowing farmers to be eligible,

  • and $25 billion to expand testing capacity.

   Congresswoman Suzanne Bonamici said, " This bill will help small businesses and family farms stay afloat, and it sets aside resources for truly small businesses and those owned by women and minorities, who have historically been left behind. Importantly, it also provides critical funding for our hospitals and healthcare facilities, which are operating without the resources they need and are unable to cover expenses because they can’t perform elective procedures. I’m thankful that the package also includes funding for testing capabilities, which we must vastly expand before we can safely reopen."
   To read more about this funding measure, click here .
Governor Brown lifts order on non-urgent medical procedures
   In a bit of a surprise to some healthcare officials, Oregon Governor Kate Brown announced non-emergency medical procedures, including dental visits, can resume a week from today (May 1), as long as safety measures are met.
   To get patients rolling again, medical providers will have to:

•  Minimize the risk of coronavirus transmission to patients and healthcare workers,
• Maintain adequate hospital capacity in the event of a surge in COVID-19 cases,
• and support the health care workforce in safely resuming activities.

   The biggest factor in this situation appears to be maintaining the supply of personal protection equipment (PPE).
   Healthcare providers have to demonstrate they have enough PPE supply, and hospitals have to report their supply daily to the Oregon Health Authority.
   There also needs to be enough COVID-19 testing capacity to test patients undergoing these non-emergency procedures.
   “I would like to thank Oregonians for the sacrifices they have made during this crisis to ensure that our health care workers have the personal protective equipment they need to treat COVID-19 patients. Lifting this order will allow our health care system to get up and running again, with appropriate safeguards in place, so that Oregonians can get health care treatment without delay.”
   To hear/read more, visit KGW's Pat Dooris' story , which features Trent Green, chief operating officer for Legacy Health in Portland.
ECONorthwest's John Tapogna provides his outlook on the economy
   Earlier this week, WEA members had the opportunity to hear from ECONorthwest's John Tapogna about his insight into the economy.
   Tapogna referred to the economy as being put into an induced coma.
   He said there are gaps in the federal aid that has been provided thus far, but he felt that the response or reaction has actually been relatively quick.
   He said the Paycheck Protection Program, which was designed for small business, really only provided relief for about 4-5 percent of all small businesses.
   Tapogna took several questions from WEA members, in fact he said they were some of the most thought provoking ones he's been asked recently.
   A member asked about whether he thought businesses could reopen if they took the same precautions as those already open, such as grocery stores.
   Tapogna said he could foresee the reopening of the economy being in layers or phases, with those businesses having the most impact opening sooner than later.
   He credited Economist Bill Conerly by saying, "Tell me what the public health situation is, and I'll tell you what the economy is going to be."
   Tapogna said even if governments say businesses can reopen, they will still have to signal to their customers how they will keep them safe because the majority of Americans believe staying at home right now is the safest place to be.
   To see the video of Tapogna's presentation, see the WEA Facebook page , or click here to see his PowerPoint slides .
WEA's operating procedures - a letter from the executive director
   WEA Executive Director Pam Treece sent a letter to members this morning, explaining how the WEA staff is operating currently during this pandemic crisis.
   Treece explained the goals for the organization through this tough economic situation, and it includes the staff reducing their hours to relieve pressure on the WEA budget.
   With the reduction in staff hours, this newsletter will also be published every other week, instead of weekly, but an event email will go out on the non-newsletter Fridays.
   Despite this reduction, WEA continues to host meetings and events through a virtual platform - nine meetings within the last few weeks with more than 500 registrants.
   To read Treece's letter, click here .
Odds & Ends
  • Pamplin Media has shared with WEA its own financial challenges during this time. Reporters and photographers have been laid off at a time when local news is more in demand. To find out how you can support local journalism, click here.

  • The Wilsonville City Council has approved a $400,000 grant relief program for small businesses there. The application process starts today. Click here to learn more.

  • King City has a vacancy on its City Council. If you or someone you know lives in King City and has interest, you can learn more by clicking here.

  • WEA wants to express its sympathies to the City of Tigard, which is mourning the death of former Councilor Nick Wilson. Wilson died unexpectedly on April 13. To read more about him, click here.

  • The Air Force Thunderbirds are expected to fly over Portland on Thursday (April 30) as part of a national operation to honor healthcare workers combating COVID-19. Click here to read more.

  • Finally, this isn't local, but seeing how our state is trade dependent with a lot of Asian destinations and with Port of Portland Executive Director Curtis Robinhold reporting more than 600 containers were handled through Terminal 6 earlier this week, it seemed fitting to share the video below. Plus, we celebrated Earth Day earlier this week. Below is a time lapse video from a container ship making its way across the ocean and from port to port.
Events coming up
Next week video candidate forum (videos from local candidates in the May primary) will be posted to the WEA website.

Fri. 5/1 at 12:00 p.m. the Golf Committee will meet virtually.

Wed. 5/6 at 8:00 a.m. Transportation Committee will meet virtually with the state's Brendan Finn.

Th. 5/14 tentative meeting of the Government Relations Committee

Wed. 5/20 tentative meeting of the Land Use & Housing Committee

Wed. 5/27 the WEA Board of Directors will meet virtually

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