The Oregon Legislature met in special session on Monday to provide critical relief to Oregonians still in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic and dealing with the recovery from destructive wildfires that burned earlier this year.
Legislation passed includes:
House Bill 4401 – An extension of the eviction moratorium and creation of a $200 million fund to support small landlords and tenants.
Senate Bill 1801 – a relief package for independent restaurants throughout the state.
$600 million to support additional COVID-19 and wildfire recovery.
House Bill 4402 – legislation to incentivize schools, administrators, and teachers to follow health directives and best practices.
House Majority Leader Barbara Smith Warner (D-Portland) issued the following statement:
“For the Oregonians who are worried about whether or not they will have a safe place to call home, for the independent restaurant owners who are working to keep their doors open, for the individuals in desperate need of support during the multitude of crises we face, today’s special session will hopefully provide some measure of relief.
“I hear from people every day who are struggling to get through this pandemic. People are scared and angry. And we know BIPOC communities and low-income individuals are disproportionately feeling the impacts. There is a lot more work to be done to ensure everyone is able to recover. In order to do that, we must all come together. And we must make clear that we will not be bullied by a few extremists who brought their hate and violence to the Capitol today.
“Oregon House Democrats are ready to get back to work next month when the legislature reconvenes to continue making desperately needed progress for our neighbors.”
Senate President Peter Courtney issued the following statement at the close of session:
“Today, the Legislature stepped forward to support tenants, landlords, restaurants. We came in because people are hurting. Our day is done…our work is not. The Emergency Board will need to meet to deliver much-needed funds for wildfire and pandemic response.
“We are still in the midst of a pandemic. It is difficult to hold a session without the people present. I have always believed in an open and transparent Capitol. Our committee received over 500 pieces of testimony and over 130 people gave testimony virtually. We heard directly from Oregonians across the state.
“There are times of great need where the work cannot wait. This was one of those times. Families across the state needed help before the end of the year. We all took some tough votes today. The Legislature came through to send relief to vulnerable Oregonians.”
Governor Kate Brown today issued the following statement upon the adjournment of the special session sine die:
"I called this special session because of the critical need to get resources into the hands of Oregonians who have been making incredible sacrifices to prevent the spread of COVID-19,” said Governor Brown. "I'd like to thank legislative leadership, and every member of the Legislature, for coming together in a bipartisan way to deliver on a relief package. I also called lawmakers into this special session to address wildfire prevention and community preparedness, given Oregon’s catastrophic wildfire season.
“I am pleased that the legislature set aside $800 million that will allow the state to respond to the ongoing needs of the pandemic and wildfire response. These funds are critical to protect Oregon families and small businesses. I am also glad they took up critical, COVID-19-related policy bills that will provide relief for tenants and landlords, extend the eviction moratorium, and create avenues to support restaurants and bars.
“State agencies have been delivering support to Oregonians throughout the public health crisis and are ready to develop proposals for the Emergency Board to consider in January that ensure we are leveraging every available federal resource so that this aid package provides quick support to Oregonians in need.
“These policy changes and budget investments, coupled with the recently announced agreement on a federal economic package, will bring much-needed relief to Oregonians and help beat the COVID-19 virus. These are important steps, but more resources will be needed for Oregon families and businesses when Congress returns to Washington.”