PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — Oregon Gov. Kate Brown announced a 10-Point Economic Recovery Plan Tuesday that aims to help families and businesses across the state —with a focus on people of color — impacted financially by the pandemic and 2020 wildfires.
In addition, Brown said the state is slated to receive $6.4 billion in funds from the recently passed COVID-19 stimulus package, which she said should be invested in a way that “maximizes economic recovery efforts for Oregonians this year, while also addressing the existing disparities that were exacerbated by the pandemic.”
Oregon had among the strictest strictest COVID-19 restrictions and safety measures in the United States, with the state shutting down in March and businesses — restaurants, gyms and indoor entertainment venues — again forced to close their doors in November for weeks and in some counties months.
Since the start of the pandemic, Oregon has paid around $8 billion in jobless benefits. Between March and July 2020 alone, more than 500,000 people filed unemployment claims in the state, causing major delays in people receiving funds.
Financial struggles spilled over into all aspects of people’s lives, as it did across the country.
In December, about one-third of U.S. households said they were behind on rent or mortgage payments and likely to face eviction or foreclosure in the following two months at the time, according to data collected by the U.S. Census Bureau.
In the midst of the pandemic, Oregon faced another devastating challenge — wildfires.
During the wildfires that burned more than 1 million acres, at least 4,000 homes were destroyed and some people are still displaced.
“My 10-Point Plan provides a roadmap for economic recovery, and will guide our state and local governments as we invest our shares of federal dollars from the American Rescue Plan,” Brown said.
The governor listed the following 10 actions for her economic recovery plan: Investing in Oregon’s hardest hit workers, those currently unemployed or underemployed; Reinvesting in innovative housing; Supporting rural communities; Supporting Oregon’s workforce that is currently employed but struggling; Creating workforce development opportunities for Oregonians; Getting small business back on its feet; Investing in Oregon’s infrastructure; Oregonians investing in Oregon; Safely reopening Oregon’s economy; and Innovation in manufacturing.
Cline is a corps member for The Associated Press/Report for America Statehouse News Initiative. Report for America is a nonprofit national service program that places journalists in local newsrooms to report on undercovered issues.