LOC News

Governor Brown Commits to Sharing CARES Act Funding with Local Governments, Details to Come

This week, Governor Kate Brown committed to provide a share of the state’s Community Reinvestment Fund to cities and counties that did not receive a direct appropriation from the CARES Act. Although there has been no commitment as of yet or detail on how the funds would be made available, LOC staff will continue to work with the Association of Oregon Counties (AOC) and Governor Brown’s staff to identify a framework.

The basic elements that the LOC and AOC have been working with involves a per-capita distribution to 240 cities and 34 counties and a likely split of 60/40 between counties and cities.  In Washington state, for example, counties received a 65% share while cities had a 35% share of the $300 million Governor Jay Inslee committed.  Counites received higher levels because their role in the pandemic response is more significant due to the delivery of public and mental health services.  This structure is largely duplicated in Oregon. Cities have a very important role in the pandemic response, so in addition to reimbursement for the direct COVID-19-related expenses such as personal protective equipment (PPE), U.S. Treasury guidance allows for reimbursement of funds made available for small business grants, rent relief programs, increased contributions to Meals on Wheels and food banks, enhanced homeless services, city utility assistance, and even cash assistance to their poorest residents.

Cities and counties remain at the front line of the pandemic response, and we collectively share the burden of the response and play a critical role in reopening Oregon’s communities.  The LOC appreciates all the outreach that cities have made to the governor’s office and their respective state legislative members. This effort will continue to evolve, and we’ll keep you updated on the developments and additional need for grassroots support.

Contact: Jim McCauley, Legislative Director - jmccauley@orcities.org

Last Updated 5/8/20

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