How COVID-19 is Re-shaping Health Benefits in 2021

FamilyThe challenges of 2020 have sharpened our focus on health as never before. From the daunting COVID-19 pandemic to the destructive wildfire season, Oregon businesses and their employees have been tested in their capacity to thrive. Even before the pandemic, the health care experience could be overwhelming. Now it’s even harder to decide when and where to get care – while still managing costs. With the resurgence of COVID-19 and winter ahead, in-person care will be more challenging than ever. The impact of months of anxiety and isolation continues to make mental health an even greater concern. There’s no better time for a new solution to provide Oregonians tools and support to manage their health and well-being.

Simplifying health care’s complexity

The realities of our complex health care system have impacted so many employees and their families. It is particularly difficult for those who are responsible for managing the care of others, perhaps tending to the needs of an older family member or someone with a challenging health condition. There is considerable self-education required – learning about specific health issues, assessing treatment options and keeping track of prescriptions. It is common to need a variety of tools such as spreadsheets to track deductibles, copays and out-of-pocket costs and complex calendars for appointments with multiple providers.

Journi is a health care company based in Oregon that is making the total health care experience better. Journi brings together self-service tools, clinical expertise and human support to help manage a family’s health care needs – all in one place. In addition to digital tools, Journi Care Guides are ready to answer your health care questions and to help with everything from researching drug costs to scheduling appointments with the right provider for you.

“It’s why I chose to work for Journi,” says Coleen Carey, vice president of sales and marketing. “Journi relieves some of the hassle of managing our health care so I can focus more on my work and my family.” Carey adds, “I understand the realities of navigating a complex health care system as I manage care for my 14 year old daughter who experiences disability.” Like many, Carey is a part of the ‘sandwich generation,’ caring for both parent and child. “Journi helps me manage our health history, providers, medications and more in one place to keep things organized in a system that can seem overwhelming.”

Addressing health care access in a mobile-first world

A digital approach has become key to helping employees get the most from their health benefits, especially during the pandemic. They are accustomed to using apps to pay bills, deposit checks, and buy groceries right from their phones. In fact, they have readily embraced telehealth during the pandemic for doctor visits and mental and behavioral health support. It’s a trend expected to keep growing. In May 2020, McKinsey found that 76 percent of consumers say they will likely use telehealth going forward.

Available as a mobile app and connected to employer-sponsored health insurance, Journi provides convenient self-service tools and real-time access to clinical experts with concierge support that meets employees where they are in their health care needs continuum – all in a one-stop solution.

Making the human connection

Employees expect a digital experience to provide self-service convenience on-demand. Journi goes a step further, offering Care Guides who can connect the dots of health care. These support specialists can help with frustrating and often time-consuming tasks, such as finding in-network doctors and scheduling appointments or resolving questions about billing. If needed, they can also connect employees with a nurse or health coach via video, phone or email. It’s like having a personal health care assistant on call.

A healthier, more productive workforce in 2021

This year has taught us hard lessons: We’ve learned that health care innovation is no longer just “nice to have,” but critical to business success. And offering benefits for the whole person is the first step in meeting the day-to-day health needs of employees, families and communities. With comprehensive digital solutions like Journi, employees will be more engaged in their health care – boosting productivity and reducing costs for employers. And after the year we’ve had, that’s good news for all Oregonians.

The source of this article can be found here.

After a COVID Year, the Housing Market Continues to Favor the Seller

by Keely McCormick and Staff

LANE COUNTY, Ore. — Heading into the new year, the housing market continues to see low supply and high demand, and like many aspects of life in 2020, the coronavirus pandemic was a factor.

Inventory is extremely tight right now and is expected to stay that way throughout 2021. We spoke to one woman who just went through the home buying process, and she said she was lucky to find one.

“During the wildfires, the landlords decided to sell and they didn’t give us much time,” said Samora Walker, a recent home buyer.

Anya Samora Walker and her family had to find a home to buy in 6 short weeks, which is hard to do in this housing market.

“It’s been challenging, I have friends that have been looking for 2 years that haven’t found what fits there needs because houses are going thousands over the asking price,” Walker said.

And those prices will continue rising in the new year.

“It’s so competitive that you’ll get 5 to 10 offers on any given home and people just driving that price up,” said Robert Grand, the CEO of Grand Real Estate Investments.

Inventory initially dropped when the pandemic hit because people started to stay home rather than sell their homes, so when we’re used to seeing an influx of homes for sale in spring. 2020 didn’t have that.

This big new development is not a common site in Lane County. The reason for the high home prices is because of low inventory and limited land to build on.

“Here in Lane County and other parts of Oregon, there’s a lot of terrain and stuff like that so it’s not as easy to sprawl out,” said Grand.

But the demand for homes here is still high, as an influx of people are wanting to come live in Oregon.

Homes here are only on the market for an average of 33 days, but that depends on the home. Grand said an entry-level house priced around $350,000 may be on the market for only 4 to 5 days.

The median sale price for a home in Lane County increased 13.6 percent from 2019 to 2020. Grand said he’s expecting to see a similar trend in 2021.

Now the next big question is if we will see a lot of foreclosures because of the pandemic’s effect on the economy.

Even if we do see that happen, Grand said it would take a major influx to shift the housing market in the new year.

The source of the article can be found here.

The Growth of Coffee Shops in Oregon

5fdcfca3eae89.image Coffee shops throughout Oregon provide customers with their daily coffee, lattes, cappuccinos, and other drinks that help wake them up in the morning and keep them awake throughout the day.

According to the National Coffee Association of the USA (NCA), which has tracked coffee consumption through annual surveys since 1950, 83% of Americans 18 years and older say they drink coffee and 64% drink it daily.

With such a large majority of Americans drinking coffee, it’s no surprise to find several coffee establishments in cities throughout the state, and sometimes multiple shops on the same block.

Coffee shops, however, provide customers with more than a latte or mocha. Coffee shops are places where people typically meet with a business partner or old friend, access public WiFi, listen to an open-mic session, study for an exam, or read a book. Thus, coffee establishments provide a gathering place and potential economic benefits greater than the price of a vanilla latte.

Growth through 2019, uncertainty ahead

Employment and wage data are classified according to the North American Industry Classification System, or NAICS, and coffee shops and stands are classified in the snack and nonalcoholic beverage bars industry. This industry includes other establishments serving items such as donuts, pretzels, ice cream, and frozen yogurt. In 2019, there were 1,575 establishments in this category with an annual average employment of 16,131.

About half of these establishments were located in the Portland metro area (i.e., Clackamas, Columbia, Multnomah, Washington, and Yamhill counties). While 2020 annual employment data is not yet available, the number of establishments dropped to an average 1,465 and employment dropped to 12,300 over of the months of April, May, and June 2020 as businesses struggled due to COVID-19 related business restrictions.

Though snack and nonalcoholic beverage bars is a small industry, comprising less than 1% of total statewide employment, it has seen consistent growth from 2010 through 2019. Growth in both the number of establishments and employment in the industry has outpaced the average rate of growth for all industries. From 2001 to 2019, the industry’s employment more than doubled in Oregon, whereas total employment for all industries increased by 22%. Similarly, the number of establishments increased by 118% compared with 56% for all industries. Growth at snack and nonalcoholic beverage bars has also outpaced the larger food services and drinking places industry. However, the COVID-19 pandemic has halted industry growth in this sector, with second quarter 2020 employment levels 24% below levels during the same period in 2019 at 12,300.

Despite social distancing-related limitations on where we can drink coffee, our appetite for the drink has not been curbed by the pandemic. According to the National Coffee Association of the USA, six out of 10 Americans are still drinking coffee daily. Where we are drinking, however, has changed slightly, with 20% fewer Americans drinking coffee away from home.

Oregonians not only love drinking coffee; we love roasting it too. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Oregon has the second highest number of coffee and tea manufacturing establishments in the nation after California and the second highest location quotient for average annual employment in the sector after Hawaii. Though some coffeehouses roast their own beans, there are several coffee roasters throughout the state from Portland down to Ashland, and east in Sisters, Bend, and Pendleton.

The coffee and tea manufacturing industry in the state steadily increased from nine business units employing 440 individuals in 2001 to 82 units employing 1,159 in 2019. During the COVID-19 pandemic, the number of coffee and tea manufacturing establishments dropped slightly to 80 in second quarter 2020. Employment in the sector dropped by 13% compared with second quarter 2019 to 1,002 jobs.

Workers and wages

The average annual wage for employees in the snack and nonalcoholic beverage bars industry in 2019 was $19,463, which was significantly lower than the statewide all-industry average of $55,019. It’s probably no surprise that workers in the industry earn lower wages as the pay scale for many jobs, such as baristas, often begins at minimum wage and many employees work part-time schedules. However, workers in the industry, especially younger workers, can obtain other benefits, specifically work experience. Compared with other industries, coffee shops tend to employ a larger share of younger workers.

Workforce age data for just the snack and nonalcoholic beverage bars industry is not available, but it is for the larger food services and drinking places sub-sector. In 2019, 14 to 24 year olds comprised approximately 30% of the food services and drinking places workforce compared with 11% for the total workforce. These younger workers in the industry can learn skills and gain valuable work experience that will allow them to be successful in other occupations. For instance, they can learn how to work in a fast-paced environment, receive payments, provide customer service, and acquire “soft” skills such as showing up to work on time, working in a team, and communicating with customers.

Working in the manufacturing side of the coffee industry may provide a much higher wage than working at a coffee shop. The average annual pay in the coffee and tea manufacturing industry in 2019 was $45,205, which is more than twice than the average for coffee shops, but lower than the all-industry average of $55,019.


Coffee shops, as well as coffee roasters, are small but have grown steadily through 2019. Despite COVID-19-related losses in 2020, employment in these sectors is likely to bounce back once social-distancing-related measures are lifted and coffee shops once again offer an atmosphere conducive to meeting with co-workers, business partners, or friends.

Sarah Cunningham is an economist with the Oregon Employment Department. She may be reached at 503-871-0046.

First COVID-19 Vaccines Have Landed in Oregon

Trucks carrying the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine departs Pfizer Global Supply plant in Portage, Michigan on Sunday, Dec. 13, 2020. (Joel Bissell | Joel Bissell |

The first shipments of the long-awaited coronavirus vaccine have arrived in Oregon, although officials don’t expect to begin inoculating any residents Monday.

The shipments of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine were expected to arrive at 10:30 a.m. Monday but instead arrived by about 7 a.m., according to the Oregon Health Authority. A Legacy Health facility in Northeast Portland and Legacy Meridian Park Medical Center in Tualatin received the first two 975-dose shipments.

It’s not immediately clear when the first vaccinations will begin, although an agency spokesperson suggested it may be Wednesday.

Frontline healthcare workers will be the first to start receiving the vaccine, followed by residents of nursing homes beginning next week. They will need a second dose three weeks later in order for the vaccine to offer its full protection. The vaccine is estimated to be about 95% effective.

“In recent weeks, as COVID-19 vaccines reached the final stages of approval, I have said time and again that hope is on the way. Today, I can tell you that help is here,” said Gov. Kate Brown, in a news release. “The first shipments of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine have arrived in Oregon, the first of many that will be distributed across the state.”

“We are in the middle of some of the hardest days of this pandemic,” Brown continued. “Our hospitals are stretched to capacity, and too many families are losing loved ones just as we enter the holiday season. So many Oregonians have suffered and sacrificed in the last ten months. But starting this week, and each week following –– as vaccines become more widely available –– we will begin gaining ground again in our fight against this disease.”

Legacy, the first healthcare group to receive the vaccine, said it had not yet determined when it would start vaccinating people against COVID-19. Legacy has two freezers on hand and expects two additional storage units to arrive Tuesday.

Among other hospitals that will soon receive shipments: Kaiser Permanente, which has two hospitals in the Portland area, will receive 975 doses Tuesday and plans to begin vaccinations Friday at its Sunnyside and Westside Medical Center. The healthcare organization has a freezer in Washington and Oregon to store the vaccines.

Oregon Health & Science University in Portland and Saint Alphonsus Medical Center in Ontario, along the Oregon-Idaho border, also will receive 975 dose shipments Tuesday.

In all, Oregon is expected to receive 35,100 doses this week. More than 24,375 of those doses are going to hospitals and health systems. The other 10,725 doses will go to nursing homes.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention asked Oregon to choose the first sites to receive the vaccine, and the system of distribution is being monitored, according to the Oregon Health Authority.

Across the country on Monday, healthcare workers began receiving immunizations. Among them, a critical care nurse in New York and workers at a medical center in Ohio.

On Sunday, a scientific review panel for Oregon, California, Washington and Nevada reviewed the data on the Pfizer vaccine and determined it was “safe and efficacious.”

Last week, a U.S. panel of scientists reviewed trial data and gave the vaccine its stamp of approval. The federal Food and Drug Administration on Friday granted the vaccine an emergency use authorization for people ages 16 and older. The director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Robert Redfield, said Sunday he recommends the vaccine.

By the end of December, Oregon could receive between a total of 197,500 and 228,400 doses of both Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines, according to the Oregon Health Authority and the governor’s office.

Brown said the state will “work to ensure” groups disproportionately effected by COVID-19 — including Black, Latino and tribal communities — will have “equitable access to vaccination.”

There are more than 4.2 million residents statewide — and estimates of when everyone who wants a vaccine gets one range from summer to fall. It’s unknown precisely when children younger than 16 will get the OK to be inoculated. Scientists say more study is needed before giving the vaccine to younger children.

After healthcare workers and residents of long-term care facility, essential workers will be next in line to get inoculated. But the state has yet to decide who will be defined as an essential worker and what order those workers will be vaccinated in within that group.

After that, people with underlying conditions that put them at high risk of severe complications from COVID-19 and people older than 65 will be given vaccinations.

It will likely be sometime in the spring before the general population’s turn in line comes up.

Patrick Allen, director of the Oregon Health Authority, urged Oregonians to continue to wear masks, avoid gatherings and take other public health safety precautions because vaccinations are still months away for most Oregonians.

“The vaccine is the light at the end of the tunnel, but we will be in this tunnel for several months,” he said in a news release. “We need to keep doing what we’ve been doing to help our friends, neighbors and ourselves stay safe.”

Coronavirus in Oregon: Latest news | Live map tracker | Text alerts | Newsletter

— Aimee Green;; @o_aimee

— Andrew Theen;; 503-294-4026; @andrewtheen

Breaking Down the November 2020 Market Action for PDX Metro


The recently released November 2020 Market Action Report for the Portland Metro area held few surprises for those currently looking to purchase a home in Portland or one of its surrounding suburbs. In fact, it reinforced what we already know: inventory is extremely low, while the average and median sale prices of homes are continuing to slightly rise based on the amount of competition out there.

It doesn’t help that the amount of new listings took a drastic dip of 36.3% from October, though they were up 5.7% from November 2019. One might speculate that perhaps this was impacted by the election and COVID, or maybe simply a traditional holiday slow down, but I don’t think this is necessarily the case.

To get a better grasp, let’s look at some of the other metrics in play. Similar to  active listings, the amount of pending listings also dropped in November, down 20.1 percent from October, and even the amount of closed listings decreased 13%, though closed sales were up 25.3% from November of 2019.

What also saw an increase? The year to date average sale price, which has risen from $459,300 up to $492,000. Similarly, the average median home price has increased from $410,000 up to $438,000.

November 2020 logged the lowest amount of inventory recorded in RMLS history: 1 month. This means that if all the homes that were currently on the market were to be gobbled up by everyone looking to buy a home out in the PDX Metro Area, it would take one month for all of the homes to be gone. This is severe, especially considering that in November 2019 there was 2.4 months worth of inventory, and 2.8 in November 2018. That is an additional 1.4 months worth of inventory gone.

So why are we seeing the numbers that we are? Though the initial pause we had in real estate at the beginning of the pandemic contributed to creating a pent up demand for housing, the demand has yet to abate. In fact, with many remaining at home to work or oversee distance learning, there has been an increase in buyers looking for homes with more room. Low mortgage rates have also given an extra push to those on the fence, edging them into the buying pool. Add these factors to the low inventory we normally see at this time of year plus the fear from potential sellers of not finding a place to move to once their home goes pending, and you have an anemic market.

It will be interesting to see what January brings, whether the amount of homes to come to the market will significantly rise or not. I believe that while we will see more sellers come to the market, there will still be a noticeable deficit between what is available and the amount of Buyers still looking.

Looking for advice on how to make your offer irresistible to Sellers and stand out from the crowd? Or are you considering selling your home but are uncertain about the best way to do so in this competitive market? Check out the About page on for ways to contact me to schedule a consultation today!Market Action (3)



How Will Oregonians Be Different When the Coronavirus Pandemic is Over?

The end is in sight. The end of the year, the end of the winter, the end of the pandemic. It’s in sight, but not here yet — and things could certainly get worse before they get better.

The impact the pandemic has had on businesses has been catastrophic, with joblessness at rates not seen since the Great Depression. Restaurants are taking a significant hit, though some are offering take-out, including Thai Bloom on Northwest 23rd Avenue. April 8, 2020 Beth Nakamura/Staff

 By the time we are out from under the coronavirus, we will probably have been dealing with its impacts for more than a year. Already it seems like it’s been forever. And we are not the same people who rang in the new year on Jan. 1, 2020.

This year, I became a different person — a more cautious and judgmental person, a more sentimental mother, a more involved daughter, and a much more accomplished baker.

In November, I asked readers to tell me how they have changed. Many people responded. Here are just some of their stories. These submissions have been edited for length and clarity.

— Lizzy Acker

“It’s made me more observant. With less cars and people about, there’s more stillness. I now notice different species of birds.” – Nathan Corliss, 36, Portland

“As a Vietnamese American, the pandemic changed the way I viewed my place in this country. I went from feeling fairly safe in this city to feeling insecure about how others will perceive me and my family when we are in public. This pandemic opened my eyes to the fragility of my rights as a minority and that l was so naive about my assumption that others see me as equal even though I live in a city lacking in diversity. A month into the pandemic, on a bike ride with my 4-year-old daughter, a white woman jogging in the park yelled racial slurs at us while we biked past her (keeping more than 6 feet away). When we stopped for a snack, a white man walked very close to us and started coughing. Another man yelled that we are going to die as I biked home through our neighborhood. After these incidents, I didn’t leave our house for months unless it was for groceries. I am much more careful when I take my kids out for walks now, and I avoid making eye contact and cross the streets to avoid people. I’m not sure I will feel completely safe again.” – Michele Hoang, 37, Portland

“My entire life I have been outgoing; always in trouble for talking in class, the storyteller at parties, the one that enters a room of strangers and leaves with a room of friends. Not anymore. I don’t know if it’s being out of the social habit or a victim of cabin fever, but I find myself turning into a recluse. And I’m angry. Angry at people I see going to Hawaii, Disney, or wine tasting — galavanting like the world isn’t a horror show. When I do go to the store, people are rude, impatient and generally unkind. I get it, going out is like walking the plank, but what happened to common decency?” – Chris Geraci, 54, Ridgefield, Wash.

“I am amazed at my own capacity for experiencing such a range of emotions, and how many emotions I have throughout any given day. Without this pandemic, I’d never have the chance to know my son so authentically and see him grow and develop an understanding of the world he lives in.” – Kelly Decklar, 40, Portland

“I already know that when I get to be older, if anyone asks me about this pandemic, I will refuse to talk about it. It ruined half my junior year of high school, and now my entire senior year. It killed some friendships that I had. I honestly cannot remember what normal life is like. And I don’t know what I will be like when I am with people again. Will I still be who I was before? Or will I be more subdued, and more quiet? I ponder about that often, because I truly don’t know.” – Michael Steinberg, 18, Beaverton

“For me, the pandemic has boiled everything down to its essence: what I thought mattered, what I believed was essential and what I spent my time doing. My daughter who is 13 recently said ‘Isn’t it crazy to be living inside a future history lesson?’ and I agreed. The biggest change I see in myself is an awareness of the ways I’ve been lucky in my life and a renewed sense of obligation to continue working on behalf of those who are struggling during this time.” – Laura Moulton, 50, Portland

“I have become so much more aware of everything around me. Suspicion consumes me sometimes. I am always looking at people who don’t wear a mask or wear one improperly or a mask that isn’t legitimate. Having my elderly mother with dementia living with me now since my dad died in August in the nursing home has changed me too. I know he died of loneliness because my mom who used to see him every day now could not see him at all. She would walk a mile to go see him and then be turned away. Sometimes she would fall, sometimes she would call me lost, sometimes her neighbor would call. My five grandchildren, I live for them and I am scared. I don’t understand those that don’t take this seriously. I just don’t.” – Terria Nightingale, 64, Dallas

“2020 has become a refuge, being comfortable in a place that is apart from the madness and turmoil, a place and time for going inward. I have slowed down, postponing and canceling so much of the busyness of our times. I read more, I write more, I dearly appreciate my world.” – Neal Lemery, 67, near Tillamook

“I am a wedding planner, which I say from the top because COVID has done to the wedding industry what I hoped to do to the wedding industry: Killed it. This is very challenging news for my fellow vendors. We are, like so many, trying to figure out how to make a living in this new world. It is also, I think, very good news, particularly for couples who want to start a marriage.

“I have seen COVID force couples to have the conversations that I have advocated they have for years. The pandemic has made them ask the most important question in all of wedding planning. Not the when or the where or the how much but the why. Why are we getting married?

“The answer is usually all about love, and that’s a beautiful thing. I look forward to seeing what it means for the future.” – Elisabeth Kramer, 30, Portland

“I used to be spontaneous. Now I don’t go anywhere without studying the rules of engagement: I have to know how to approach any store, restaurant or other venue intimately before I go there, and when they make minor adjustments, I tend to freak out. Hopefully, I’ll get over this phase and learn to roll with the punches.” – Robert Mohrman, 69, Portland

“My life is either that of a hermit as I stay home most of the time, or when I absolutely must be in public, hazmat, where I wear my Moldex 8000 respirator, my lab gloves, and my glasses to protect myself. I did meet my new sweetheart at Market of Choice in Eugene back in September while dressed in full hazmat. It was like a masquerade because he was wearing a surgical mask and I was behind him and I recognized him from the back by his hair and his walk. We worked together for about seven years, many years past,  and saw each other once in a while. When I said, ‘Adam is that you?’ He turned and was shocked to see me like that, he wasn’t sure who I was, but he said, ‘Yvonne, is that you?’ I told him I had moved to Yachats, and was alone, so we exchanged numbers, and it later was clear that he too was alone. We now have the beginning of a blossoming relationship to look forward to, instead of navigating the cold, dark winter alone.” – Yvonne Hall, 59, Yachats

“We might not return to ‘normal,’ but life is too precious to give up or be careless. I miss people and places and activities outside my home. It’s only for a little while longer and then we can move forward to something new and exciting. I don’t think I will change that much. I know I will appreciate life even more.  I will probably explore more places and meet more people and create more friendships along with all the friends I miss now.” – Patrice Toombs, 70, Roseburg

Oregon Moves From ‘Freeze’ to Tiered Risk Restrictions

Street restriction signs on SE Center street at 72nd avenue on Wed., May 13, 2020. The restrictions are part of the city of Portland’s “Slow Streets Safe Streets” initiative, which is meant to allow more space for pedestrians and cyclists to maintain social distancing during the coronavirus pandemic. Dave Killen / Staff The Oregonian

On Thursday, Oregon moves out of the “freeze” put in place by Gov. Kate Brown and into a tiered framework designating each county by risk levels with different restrictions for each tier.

A county’s placement in each tier will generally be based on the two-week rate of cases per 100,000 residents for populous counties, and the total number of cases for counties with less than 30,000 people. It will also be based on each county’s positivity rate.

Twenty-five Oregon counties, including Multnomah, Washington and Clackamas, have been deemed at “extreme risk” and face the most restrictions.

You can read a full explanation of each of the state’s tiers, and how they’ll be measured, at the state’s coronavirus website.

Here is what you can and cannot do under each tier:

Extreme Risk Tier 

Under the tier with the most elevated risk category, social gatherings inside and outside are limited to six people with a recommended limit of two households.

Restaurants and bars are allowed to reopen for outdoor dining, but with a maximum capacity of 50 people total and a maximum party size of six people. All establishments must close by 11 p.m.

Indoor recreation facilities and gyms must remain closed as well as indoor recreation facilities like movie theaters and museums. Outdoor recreational facilities — including pools, parks and outdoor fitness classes, are limited to 50 people.

Retail stores, including indoor and outdoor malls, can remain open, but with a limit of 50% of their total capacity. Curbside pickup is encouraged.

Faith institutions like churches, synagogues and mosques can hold services indoors, but are limited to either 25% capacity or 100 people, whichever is smaller. Outdoor services are limited to 150 people and the state recommended keeping services to an hour or less.

Remote work is encouraged, when possible, and public offices should be closed.

Outdoor recreation facilities, like zoos and stadiums, are limited to 50 people.

Personal services like salons are allowed to operate normally.

Visits to long-term care facilities must take place outside, with limited exceptions.

Counties in the extreme risk tier: Baker, Clackamas, Columbia, Crook, Deschutes, Douglas, Grant, Hood River, Jackson, Jefferson, Josephine, Klamath, Lake, Lane, Linn, Malheur, Marion, Morrow, Multnomah, Polk, Umatilla, Union, Wasco, Washington and Yamhill

High Risk Tier


Under the second-highest risk category, social gatherings inside are limited to six people with a recommended limit of two households. Outdoor gatherings are limited to eight people.

Restaurants and bars are allowed to reopen for indoor and outdoor dining, but with a maximum capacity of 25% or 50 people inside, whichever is smaller. Outdoor dining will be capped at 75 people and all establishments must close by 11 p.m.

Indoor recreation facilities and gyms, as well as indoor entertainment facilities, will be limited to 50 people or 25% capacity, whichever is smaller.

Retail stores, including indoor and outdoor malls, can remain open, but with a limit of 50% of their total capacity. Curbside pickup is encouraged.

Faith institutions like churches, synagogues and mosques can hold services indoors, but are limited to either 25% capacity or 150 people, whichever is smaller. Outdoor services are limited to 200 people.

Remote work is encouraged, when possible.

Outdoor recreation facilities, like zoos and stadiums, are limited to 75 people.

Personal services like salons are allowed to operate normally.

Visits to long-term care facilities are allowed.

Counties in the high risk tier: Benton, Clatsop, Coos, Curry and Lincoln

Moderate Risk Tier 

Under the moderate risk tier, social gatherings inside are limited to eight people with a recommended limit of two households. Outdoor gatherings are limited to 10 people.

Restaurants and bars are allowed to reopen for indoor and outdoor dining, but with a maximum capacity of 50% or 100 people inside, whichever is smaller, and with a maximum of six people per table. Outdoor dining will be capped at 150 people and all establishments must close by 11 p.m.

Indoor recreation facilities and gyms, as well as indoor entertainment facilities, will be limited to 100 people or 50% capacity, whichever is smaller.

Retail stores, including indoor and outdoor malls, can remain open, but with a limit of 75% of their total capacity. Curbside pickup is encouraged.

Faith institutions like churches, synagogues and mosques can hold services indoors, but are limited to either 50% capacity or 150 people, whichever is smaller. Outdoor services are limited to 250 people.

Remote work is encouraged, when possible.

Outdoor recreation facilities, like zoos and stadiums, are limited to 150 people.

Personal services like salons are allowed to operate normally.

Visits to long-term care facilities are allowed.

Counties in the moderate risk tier: Harney and Tillamook

Lower Risk Tier

Under the state’s lowest risk tier, social gatherings inside are limited to 10 people with a recommended limit of four households. Outdoor gatherings are limited to 12 people.

Restaurants and bars are allowed to reopen for indoor and outdoor dining, but with a maximum capacity of 50% people inside. Outdoor dining will be capped at 300 people and all establishments must close by midnight. Table size indoors and outdoors will be limited to eight people.

Indoor recreation facilities and gyms, as well as indoor entertainment facilities, will be limited to 50% capacity.

Retail stores, including indoor and outdoor malls, can remain open, but with a limit of 75% of their total capacity. Curbside pickup is encouraged.

Faith institutions like churches, synagogues and mosques can hold services indoors, but are limited to either 75% capacity. Outdoor services are limited to 300 people.

Limited office work is allowed.

Outdoor recreation facilities, like zoos and stadiums, are limited to 300 people.

Personal services like salons are allowed to operate normally.

Visits to long-term care facilities are allowed.

Counties in the lower risk tier: Gilliam, Sherman, Wallowa and Wheeler

— Kale Williams;; 503-294-4048; @sfkale

The source of this article can be found, here.

Student Film Sheds Light on Lake Oswego’s History

Lakeridge High School grad Mya Gordon shares Lake Oswego’s history and her personal experience in film.

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PMG PHOTO: ASIA ALVAREZ ZELLER – Mya Gordon addresses the crowd at the Lakeridge Equity Council Open Session at Foothills Park.

The homegrown documentary “Lake ‘No Negro'” explores not only Lake Oswego’s racially-exclusive past and the present ideology insisting there is no problem, but also the changemakers in the community who insist there is.

Mya Gordon, the film’s creator, is a senior at Lakeridge High School. She’s the founder of the Equity Council at Lakeridge High School and the co-chair of the district’s Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Advisory Committee. Her involvement in equity work stems from the experiences she had when she first moved to Lake Oswego from New Jersey in the seventh grade.

“Growing up in Lake Oswego has been really difficult as a person of color,” Gordon said. “When I was younger I didn’t quite understand why.”

She said she felt alienated and different from everyone else and seeing that virtually no one else felt that way made her feel crazy. It wasn’t until she interacted with other people of color that she realized what she was feeling was valid.

“I kind of started to realize that I wasn’t alone,” Gordon said.

The documentary started out as a desire to tell a story about the racially-exclusive history of Lake Oswego. “Most people know about Lake Oswego’s history but they don’t pay attention to it,” Gordon said.

Gordon went to her AP U.S. history teacher, Karen Hoppes-Fischer, to hear her thoughts on the idea. Hoppes-Fischer helped her create an outline and get access to equipment.

She started by learning everything she could about black exclusion laws in Oregon and in Lake Oswego that gave the city the nickname “Lake No Negro.”

She said an earlier cut of the film included a lot more history, including the racial exclusion laws. She said though a lot of that information didn’t make it into the final product, it was helpful for her to wrap her head around the black exclusion laws that created an ideology that exists in Lake Oswego today.

She wanted to show that though Lake Oswego still has a long way to go in terms of equity and diversity, important steps have been made in recent years.

“I was hoping that people would recognize that there are people who are trying to make a difference in the community,” Gordon said.

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PMG FILE PHOTO – Lakeridge High School senior Mya Gordon wanted to share here story while also shedding light on Lake Oswego’s racist history in her new documentary.

Her involvement in the community made gathering interviews easy. Her interviews include Willie Poinsette, president and co-founder of Respond to Racism, Lake Oswego School District’s Director of Equity and Strategic Initiatives David Salerno Owens and LOSD School Board Chair Rob Wagner.

“Everyone had so much heart and so much to say,” Gordon said.

She said her goal was not to make a cinematic masterpiece — it was to tell an important story.

“At first I wasn’t going to put myself into the documentary. I didn’t even want to narrate it,” Gordon said.

Her teacher encouraged her, saying that it would be more powerful.

“I’m telling a story that is also my own, that is personal to me and personal to a lot of people,” Gordon said. “It was a story that needed to be shared … there are a lot of people in Lake Oswego who think that Lake Oswego doesn’t have a problem.”

Gordon said saying Lake Oswego has a problem doesn’t mean she doesn’t like Lake Oswego. In fact, it’s because she cares about Lake Oswego that she criticizes it.

“I do appreciate a lot of what Lake Oswego is,” she said.

She said when she felt isolated, she didn’t think anyone was advocating for her.

“I really wanted to make sure that students knew that someone was doing something,” Gordon said.

The documentary can be viewed here.

This article was written by Asia Alvarez Zeller. The source can be viewed, here.

How Many Lights Do I Need for Christmas?

Christmas lovers rejoice! Thanksgiving has come and gone, leaving us to the most wonderful time of the year! If you are one of those people who is ready to go with your lights out as soon as the turkey leftovers have made it to the fridge, today’s short blog might not be for you because you are a true Christmas decorating pro.

As much as I love the Christmas season, there is one thing that I can never get right. No, not the wrapping…..ok, two things. Make that two things I can never get right. The one I want to touch on today is Christmas lights. Who never knows how many they need? You? Ok! Here is the quickest way to know if you are set or if you need to run to the store for more lights:

For the Home:

When it comes to putting lights up on the outside of your home, you want to for sure (according to Home Depot) have 60 feet of string or icicle lights to start. Then add on 10-12 feet for each additional awning.

For an Indoor Christmas Tree, see the chart below:

Blue and Peach Concept Map Chart (1)


If you are looking to put lights on outdoor trees or shrubs, this chart will not work for that, but it has you covered indoors!

How many lights do you normally put up during the holidays?

A Kids About Book Series Makes Oprah Winfrey’s Favorite List

Though I love the phenomenon that is Oprah Winfrey, I am not religious about following up with her latest book club reads or favorite things list. Yet it caught my eye when I saw an article that mentioned how a Portland, Or based company had landed on her favorite things list this year. So of course I had to see what had intrigued Oprah enough to talk about it.

What I found hit my heart. The Portland based company that made Oprah’s list is called “A Kid’s Book About.” A Kid’s Book About is a publishing company, founded by author Jelani Memory, whose mission is to “help kids and their grown ups have honest conversations by making books about challenging, empowering, and important topics told by diverse authors who know that topic first hand.” It all started when Memory, described on the A Kid’s Book About website as a black father with a blended family, wanted to find a way to talk with his kids about the topic of racism in an honest and connective way. Though he initially wrote A Kid’s Book About Racism for his kids only, one copy multiplied to thousands as more people who were also struggling to have that talk wanted a copy as well.

Currently there are over 20 topics that A Kid’s Book About has tackled. Some of these topics include: belonging, death, optimism, anxiety, feminism, shame, bullying, gratitude, money , failure, and many more. I have to say, it is so easy to see why this would be on a favorites list. Conversations with our kids can be hard, so having resources, written by real people who have experienced the topic is not only valuable,  but also provides a sense of support and community. Reading more about this business was such an honor because I was able to learn more about someone in my community who is creating an impact by creating a solution for something he didn’t even realize other people wanted. If you get a chance, check out and shop the A Kid’s Book About website by clicking here.

What topics would you like to see a kid’s book about?