From Rogue Climate in case you didn’t receive this email from Hannah Sohl.

Communities across our region and the world are working hard to ensure that people are protected from the health risks and economic disruptions of Coronavirus (COVID-19). Can you help today by sending an email demanding urgent action from your City Council?                                

Among those hit the hardest by the COVID-19 outbreak include people without paid sick leave, childcare, or access to health care, those who are incarcerated or un-housed, elders, people with preexisting health conditions, and low-wage workers – many of the same communities that are also most impacted by the climate crisis. 

There is a lot that our local governments can put in place right away to make sure there are safeguards for those who are already struggling the most. We must ensure they act now.

Can you take action by sending an email to your City Councillors today?  Under this email there is an example from our friends at the Rogue Action Center that you can use to email your City Council. It lays out practical next steps for local governments to address the COVID-19 situation including ensuring public restrooms are left open and stocked with soap and water, suspending utility shut offs and evictions, supporting local businesses, and more. 

Bold action is crucial right now for all of us because we know that everyone’s individual health is dependent on the health of their community, including those at highest risk. To stay updated as the situation develops, check out resources from the Oregon Health Authority here.

This time of uncertainty is changing the way in which our community organizes to promote a clean, healthy, and just energy future and to stop new fossil fuel projects, like Jordan Cove LNG. But, it also strengthens our determination to tackle the climate crisis, which, among other effects, will be speeding up the spread of other diseases if we don’t act now.

In the coming weeks Rogue Climate will be moving our organizing online, and cancelling our in-person events (for more info click here).  Stay tuned for opportunities to connect virtually and to take action to stop Jordan Cove LNG and transition to clean energy. We will all need to stay vigilant to ensure that the largest corporations cannot use this crisis to take our communities backwards on climate action, and that during this crisis all in our community have what they need to thrive.

More soon,

Hannah and the Rogue Climate Team

Ashland City Council: Meets TODAY Tuesday, 3/17,
Talent City Council: Meets Wednesday 3/18,
Medford City Council: Meets Thursday  3/19,
Phoenix City Council: Council emails can be found here

Here’s an example email from the Rogue Action Center:

Dear Council and Mayor,

Thank you for all that you have put in place to respond to Covid-19. Please act now to put safeguards in place for those who are already struggling the most: unhoused people, low-income folks, and elders. This is crucial right now for all of us because we know that each of our health depends on community health, including those at highest risk.

Here’s what you can do, and what we need you to do right now, to ensure that the response to Coronavirus doesn’t hurt those already struggling the most in our community. The following are constructive proposals that have emerged from the community so far. Others will be added as the situation evolves:

City communication and meetings

>Suspend all in-person public meetings and arrange Skype or Zoom meetings to meet statutory guidelines
>Use your leadership role to make it clear that there is no room for racism and xenophobia and that the correct way to refer to this virus is by using medically correct terminology such as the Coronavirus, or COVID-19
>City updates regarding Covid-19 should be available in both English and Spanish, on city website and on Facebook, with a link to language access options for residents who need information in a language other than English or Spanish

City managed resources to support community-level hygiene and health: 

>Leave all public restrooms open with running water and soap 24 hours a day to encourage everyone to practice optimum hygiene. Consider setting up portable handwashing stations if these facilities are inadequate
>Provide additional trash services near restrooms and other high traffic areas to protect public health
>Set up emergency quarantine spaces for those unable to self quarantine at home or in a vehicle

City managed economic relief measures for impacted residents including: low income families, those without shelter, people on fixed incomes, workers and small business owners experiencing income loss due to the crisis:

>Suspend city-provided utility shut offs with no interest/late charge fees
Calculate upcoming transient occupancy tax (transient lodging tax) losses and consider bridge loans to businesses impacted
>Call on landlords to suspend evictions due to inability to pay full rent on time through September 2020
>Suspend camping ticketing and displacement of those without shelter and designate a place where people can sleep safely in their vehicles to ensure houseless folks have a place to rest, receive medical care if needed, and access hand washing and other basic prevention measures. Work with the county to end Greenway sweeps and instead work with agencies to provide basic services to houseless people who are already at high risk for Coronavirus.

City leadership – in addition to what you can directly control, local government has an important leadership role to play in setting the tone for how our communities think about and respond to this crisis.

>Encourage folks to check on their neighbors (instead of calling police for wellness checks to reduce workload and exposure for public safety workers and first responders)
>Call on community to support local small businesses (for example by buying a gift certificate online)
>Call on the Governor and state legislators to do all they can to address the very real, long-term health and economic impacts for families, workers, small businesses, the houseless, and those on fixed incomes due to disability or retirement. These include strong action on paid sick leave, unemployment insurance, and moratoriums on mortgages, rents, and basic utilities.

Together we can use this moment to make sure everyone in our community gets the care they need
and that those already struggling don’t lose access to basic shelter because of this unprecedented public health crisis.

Thank you,