Oregon lawmakers support disaster declaration

ONTARIO — Oregon’s Congressional Delegation has given its support to Gov. Kate Brown’s request for a major disaster declaration for Oregon as a result of the novel coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic.

In a letter sent today to the White House, Oregon lawmakers said the rapid spread of the virus has caused massive and unprecedented disruptions, closing schools and businesses.

“We have heard from rural health clinics, hospitals, and providers who are having to lay off employees due to reduced patient care and declining revenues. We have heard from heroic frontline health care workers stressed about the lack of test kits and and personal protective equipment,” the lawmakers wrote.

“We have heard from small business owners suffering financially and wondering how to put food on the table. We have heard from volunteers in rural fire and ambulance districts who must choose whether to self-quarantine or continue providing critical public safety services to their communities.”

“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,” they said.

Signing the letter were U.S. Sen. Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley, and U.S. Reps. Peter DeFazio, Earl Blumenauer, Suzanne Bonomici, Kurt Schrader and Greg Walden.