Legislation Planned for Food Assistance; Flu Report; Crabbing Closure; City Council Meeting

Legislation Planned for Food Assistance

A big gap exists in who can receive food assistance in Oregon. Lawmakers want to bridge that divide this session. Federal law excludes people who are undocumented from programs like the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP, the country’s largest food assistance program. The Food for All Oregonians bill would extend food aid to lawful permanent residents, U-S Compacts of Free Association or COFA citizens and other Oregonians who arrived as immigrants or refugees. Aldo Solano Mendez is with Oregon Food Bank and co-manager of the Food for All Oregonians campaign.

“Oregon should be able to offer food assistance to all Oregonians regardless of where they were born. Currently, about 62,000 Oregonians are excluded from vital food assistance programs like SNAP simply because of immigration status or where they were born.”

More than 75 organizations across Oregon have endorsed the legislation. Mendez says immigrant community members and Oregonians of color are more likely to experience food insecurity. According to data from 2020, they were two to three times more likely to be food insecure than white Oregonians.

Flu Report

The state of Oregon has moved from high to moderate levels of the influenza virus in the latest report published by the Oregon Health Authority.  Instances of influenza has decreases yet again from the previous report.  The OHA is reporting that 2.8% of all specimens are coming back positive a decline of an additional 1%. In previous years the flu virus was in the 15 to 35 % range and has now dropped to near record lows during the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic.  The OHA is also reporting a decrease in outbreaks in Long Term Care Facilities however there were still at least 2 known outbreaks in areas described as “other” in the report.

Crabbing Closure

Recreational crabbing is still open along the coastal areas of Florence but the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife has closed some areas south of here.  The evidence of high levels of demoic acid have cause the closing of recreational crabbing four miles  north of Charleston to one half mile north of Gold Beach.  This is not an indication that the coastal area around Florence may be next but ODFW continue to do bi-weekly testing on samples.  Bay clamming and mussel harvesting has not been affected by the harmful toxin at this point and it remains open along the entire coastline.  Razor clamming, however, remains closed along the entire coastline.

City Council Meeting

The Florence City Council is scheduled to meet this evening at 5:30 at City Hall.  Several items are on the agenda including the purchase of playground equipment for the play area in Miller Park.  The council could approve spending $236,481 dollars in new equipment.  They are also considering authorizing staff to begin the application process for a $25,000 grant from the Ford Family Foundation to help pay for some of the costs involved in the upgrade.  The council will also discuss committee, commission and Board Recruitment.