Coronavirus (COVID-19) Response:
Cameron’s Plan to Save Lives and Livelihoods

 

Our society has been changed forever by the novel coronavirus.

This pandemic has sent shockwaves that prove the cracks in our system are actually chasms. Growing inequality, homelessnesss, and broken healthcare systems are continuing to threaten the vision of the thriving Oregon we want to see come to fruition. Hundreds of thousands of working families and vulnerable people in Oregon are facing uncertain futures through no fault of their own.

Cameron understands this crisis personally. Originally born in New Jersey, the majority of Cameron’s family members are living right in the middle of America’s coronavirus crisis. 

 

His campaign for Metro Council took action immediately to help slow the spread of the coronavirus, canceling all in-person activities indefinitely and transitioning to virtual opportunities to engage Portland voters.

 

This ongoing and ever-changing emergency has made one thing absolutely clear. We need bolder policy solutions that protect our families, small businesses, first responders, and most vulnerable communities.

Congress recently took action by passing a $2.2 trillion economic stimulus package, while not without flaw, included significant provisions to bring immediate support to unemployed and vulnerable Americans and small businesses. 

This is only the beginning of the re-shifting of economic and public health priorities we need to ensure our society emerges from this crisis with resilience and hope for our future. 

Cameron is committed to working with all resources available to provide immediate support to Portlanders and ensure our region is better prepared for the next crisis.

The “Coronavirus (COVID-19) Response” Plan

 

We must do whatever it takes, without delay, to save the lives and livelihoods of Portlanders. Cameron understands that our situation is changing by the day and will continue to propose policies to address new challenges.

 

As a candidate and community leader, Cameron has been decisive and outspoken in support of immediate action to the coronavirus pandemic and our looming economic realities. Here’s what Cameron has been advocating for:

 

  • Ensuring the wide availability of free testing

  • Reducing cost barriers to preventive care and treatment

  • Full utilization of emergency supplies, personnel, and facilities

  • Increased protections and resources for first responders and essential workers

  • Stronger emergency relief for workers and small businesses

  • Eviction protection and a rent freeze for Portland renters

  • Passing emergency paid leave for all workers

  • Volunteering and raising donations to feed vulnerable Portlanders

  • Supporting our local economy and small businesses

 

While Metro’s role as our unique regional government does not manage many aspects of our public health and economic recovery programs, there are critical components where Metro can lead. Here’s Cameron’s plan as Metro Councilor.

Coordinated Crisis Communications

It’s of utmost importance that all Portlanders have access to the information and resources they need to keep their families safe and healthy, and Metro can help. Here’s how:

 

  • Leveraging our talented Metro staff to provide standardized informational materials and communications assistance to less equipped jurisdictions.

  • Continuing to disseminate real-time recommendations and updates from the Centers of Disease Control.

A Long Term Pandemic Response Plan

We need to audit what parts of our crisis management went well, what did not, and then take action to ensure this crisis never happens again. Metro can help to convene this critical regional conversation. Here’s how:

  • Creating a realistic timeline on how to fill the gaps in our pandemic response planning. 

  • Convening regional leaders to create a pandemic response plan that strengthens our public health system and disease surveillance protocols.

  • Establishing flexible emergency budgeting protocols to ensure Metro decisions on facilities and staffing are as transparent and responsive as possible.

  • Ensuring that public health decisions are made by public health professionals and not politicians.    

Enforcing Public Health Standards

Metro should set the model for public health standards for parks and natural areas use to ensure all residents are fully informed and safe. Here’s how:

 

  • Continuing to prioritize the health and safety of staff and visitors by practicing strict safe social distancing standards.

  • Closely monitoring our parks and temporarily closing them down if there are serious safety issues.
     

Economic Recovery

After the coronavirus, Metro needs to help get Portlanders back to work. Here’s how:

 

  • Leveraging our research and data programs to provide an economic roadmap on how to rebuild industries impacted by the pandemic. 

  • Advocating for public dollars to be invested in land acquisition to guarantee long term affordability of commercial space for small, local businesses.
     

Healthcare System Recovery

The pandemic has demonstrated the urgent need to produce American-sourced and manufactured medical supply products to ensure we are not vulnerable to international supply chain disruptions. Metro has demonstrated its capacity and willingness to support by donating 1,528 protective suits from its hazardous waste facilities to Oregon Health & Science University, and we must continue this collaboration after the coronavirus. Here’s how:

  • Working with public health professionals to map critical health care supplies, supply chain processes, and improved protections for healthcare workers.
     

 

Advocating for Workers

Metro is weathering a difficult layoff of about 40% of its workforce. Moving forward, we must ensure our Metro employees’ livelihoods are protected as much as possible. Here’s how:

  • Guaranteeing all employees receive a 2-week notice or severance when layoffs are caused by a crisis.
     

 

Food Systems Recovery

With the unexpected closure of restaurants and many social services, our emergency food systems have been overwhelmed by the intense need for hunger prevention programs. Metro can help provide strategies to address hunger. Here’s how:

  • Convening regional food systems to plan for emergency protocols.

  • Advocating for incentives to support local farms.

  • Increasing livability grants that support community supported agriculture.
     

Homelessness Solutions

For the near future, all major travel and conventions have been canceled. Metro plays an important role in tourism and lodging tax policy, and we should be working closely with local hotels to identify the safest possible short term housing for homeless people and people exposed to COVID-19. Here’s how:

  • Negotiating discounts for usage of hotels for quarantine and emergency shelter occupancy and studying the purchase of older motels for emergency shelters.

  • Establishing outdoor emergency shelters that have access to adequate social services. 
     

 

Promote Remote Learning and Working 

School and business closures have created a sudden and unexpected challenge for working families. Metro can support residents in adjusting to this new reality. Here’s how:

  • Providing technical assistance to adapt to new technologies around remote work and remote learning.

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Friends of Cameron Whitten | PO Box 6807 Portland, Oregon 97228 | Email: vote@whittenfororegon.com