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Oregon delegation backs Gov. Brown’s request for Guard mobilization

Oregon National Guard COVID-19 3-31
Sgt. 1st Class Zachary Holden/Oregon Military Dept.
Oregon Army National Guard Sgt. Luke Fox prepares 150 military cots, blankets and hygiene packs for delivery from Salem to La Grande on March 25

Calling for support for up to 1,250 Guard members' duty

WASHINGTON (KTVZ) -- Oregon's congressional delegation sent a letter Wednesday to President Trump in support of Gov. Kate Brown’s request for federal support to mobilize up to 1,250 members of the Oregon National Guard in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Sens. Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley, and Reps. Peter DeFazio, Earl Blumenauer, Suzanne Bonamici, Kurt Schrader and Greg Walden noted in their bipartisan letter that the governor fully activated the state’s Emergency Coordination Center in early March and has since ordered Oregonians to stay home and non-essential businesses to cease operations. 

They wrote that the governor’s request seeking Title 32 authority for the National Guard would help defray state costs for the mobilization.

“Oregon is a resilient and forward-thinking state and Oregon National Guardsmen have already been working to set up mobile hospitals and tents,” the lawmakers wrote. “But no state will be able to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic alone, which is why Governor Brown has requested Title 32 authority and funding. 

"If approved, this request would permit her to deploy the Oregon Guard in multiple capacities to meet immediate COVID-19 response needs across the state.”

In a letter Friday to President Trump, Brown asked to mobilize up to 1,250 Oregon National Guard member to assist in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Brown wrote that the Guard "is uniquely positioned to fulfill immediate requirements for our communities and "will provide much needed logistical, medical, communications and coordinating skills."

A copy of the Oregon delegation's entire letter is here and below.

                                                            April 1, 2020

Donald J. Trump

The President

The White House

Washington, DC 20500

Mr. President:

We write in support of Governor Kate Brown’s request to mobilize up to 1,250 members of the Oregon National Guard in a Title 32 USC 502(f) status.  Your swift approval of the governor’s request will help the governor and her team respond to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. 

The rapid spread of COVID-19 has caused massive disruption to American life, shuttering schools and closing businesses on an unprecedented scale.  Governor Brown fully activated Oregon’s Emergency Coordination Center in early March and has since ordered Oregonians to stay home and non-essential businesses to cease operations.  The state is reporting more than 650 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 18 deaths as of this writing—numbers that grow by the day. 

Oregon is a resilient and forward-thinking state and Oregon National Guardsmen have already been working to set up mobile hospitals and tents.  But no state will be able to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic alone, which is why Governor Brown has requested Title 32 authority and funding.  If approved, this request would permit her to deploy the Oregon Guard in multiple capacities to meet immediate COVID-19 response needs across the state.

We thank you in advance for your expedited review of this request and look forward to working with you to support the response effort in Oregon and across the country. 

Government-politics / News / Oregon-Northwest / War-Military

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