May 8, 2020
News & Notes
Governor Brown announces plans for first phase of reopening Oregon
   Oregon Governor Kate Brown this week announced plans for reopening businesses and lifting other restrictions in the state.
   The Governor had already eased restrictions on non-urgent medical procedures last Friday, and this week she said some recreational areas could reopen where physical distancing can occur - this includes day use areas at some state parks.
   Brown then went on to list the framework for phase 1 and beyond for reopening the state, which will be done by county and by meeting criteria , such as declining COVID-19 cases/hospitalizations for 14 days, testing a minimum of 30 people per 10,000 of population per week; having 15 tracers per 100,000 people, and being able to trace 95 percent of cases within 24 hours.
   Counties meeting the state's prerequisites can start applying today to start phase 1 and could enter that phase as early as next Friday.
    The goals of reopening are to:
1. Minimize hospitalizations and deaths;
2. Allow people to safely return to work, so they can support themselves and their families;
3. Minimize risk to frontline workers;
4. Avoid overwhelming health systems;
5. Protect those at highest risk of severe illness, especially communities of color;
6. Support for small local gatherings that preserve community cohesion and cultural practices.

   It's anticipated more rural counties, which have seen few COVID-19 cases, will reopen ahead of the urban counties.
   To see the Governor's slide presentation with more details, click here. or visit Oregon Health Authority's website for information on specific industries (look for the May 7 Press Conference to unveil the links).
Annual Mayors Breakfast Forum is set for May 28
   The Westside Mayors will be meeting with WEA virtually the morning of Thursday, May 28.
   WEA members will be able to hear how each city is working in the midst of the pandemic and how they are engaging with their business communities.
   The mayors of Banks, Beaverton, Cornelius, Forest Grove, Hillsboro, King City, North Plains, Sherwood, Tigard, Tualatin, West Linn and Wilsonville are all expected to participate.
   Registration information will be available early next week.
Transportation Committee talks with ODOT's new director for Office of Urban Mobility
   The Oregon Transportation Commission recently created the Office of Urban Mobility and the Governor's former transportation advisor was chosen to lead it.
   Brendan Finn is the director of the new office, and he spoke with WEA's Transportation Committee this week.
   Finn talked about how the OTC is wanting to deliver programs or projects in ways that meet community needs, while achieving the broader state's goals.
   His office's top projects right now include the I-5 Rose Quarter project, the I-205 Abernethy Bridge, the replacement of the Interstate Bridge (on I-5), and tolling.
   Finn answered a number of questions from the committee.
   He explained the community involvement being done with the Rose Quarter project and its overall goals.
   Finn also spoke about the status of the Interstate Bridge replacement and the partners at the table for it.
   The new director said each project is different and his office is working with the different stakeholders on each one.
   To read more about the new Office of Urban Mobility, see this op-ed piece in Pamplin Media.
Ballots are out & candidate videos are in
   Since we cannot meet with candidates in-person, WEA's Government Relations Committee designed another way to get to know candidates in some of the state and local elections.
   The Government Relations Committee invited candidates to answer two questions by video and to give a brief introduction of themselves.
   These include candidates for Secretary of State; Senate District 14; House Districts 26, 28, 33, 35, and 37; Washington County Districts 1 and 3; and Beaverton Mayor.
   More than 20 candidates have submitted their videos, which you can see by following the link to the WEA web page sponsored by PGE.
Local unemployment & economic forecasting - "We are building the plane as we fly"
   The Oregon Office of Economic Analysis has been monitoring the rate of unemployment claims and the impacts on different sectors of the state's economy.
   According to Oregon's Employment Department more than 381,800 people have applied for unemployment since businesses started closing because of COVID-19 in mid-March.
   Economist Josh Lehner said all sectors have been impacted during this pandemic and in his blog, he provides a comparison of each industry in terms of what economists initially thought the impact would be and what these sectors are actually experiencing.
   The comparison shows most all industries are worse off than what the economist foresaw a month ago.
    " But what I want to focus is the simple fact that the impacts are not contained to just bars, restaurants, nail salons, and the like. Yes, that may have been the tip of the spear. However we are seeing the impacts bleed throughout the entire economy. No sector is left unscathed," said Lehner.
   To read Lehner's blog, click here .
   He also provides a blog on the Portland region's ability to maintain and attract a younger workforce.
Odds & Ends
  • University of Oregon Economist Tim Duy talked in his blog this week about the state of the economy and its dependence on public health. Click here to read more.

  • Oregon's first COVID-19 patient (diagnosed on February 28) was released from Kaiser Permanente's Westside Medical Center this week. Some are calling his recovery miraculous. Click here to see his story.

  • This weekend is Mother's Day. If you can't be with your mom in-person, Verizon has some tips on how you can make her day anyway. Click here to learn more.

  • As we slide into the weekend, Barley shows us his stay at home dance moves. See the video below.
Events coming up
(ongoing through 5/19) Video candidate forum - videos from local candidates in the May primary are posted to the WEA website.

5/19 Oregon's May primary - ballots are due

Wed. 5/20 the Land Use & Housing Committee will meet virtually at 12:00 p.m.

Th. 5/21 Government Relations Committee will meet virtually at 8:00 a.m.

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

Th. 5/28 "Talking virtually with the Westside mayors" - an online Breakfast Forum at 7:30 a.m. sponsored by Comcast. Registration coming soon.

Fri. 6/5 at 12:00 p.m. the Golf Committee will meet virtually.

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