KWSO News for 4/29/20

In yesterday’s COVID-19 update (Tue. Apr. 28, 2020) from the Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs it was reported that there are now 8 positive cases of coronavirus on the Reservation.   120 tests have been done total with 96 returning negative and 16 tests pending results.   26 individuals were tested yesterday at the Warm Springs Health & Wellness Center.

Yesterday’s update from the Oregon Health Authority reported 99 deaths in Oregon due to COVID-19.  There are 2385 positive cases across the state.  More than 52 thousand Oregonians have been tested.

Warm Springs Tribal government offices are closed thru at least May 8th.  This does not apply to essential services typically defined as Police Department, Fire & Safety, Emergency Medical Technicians, Public Utilities, and so on.  Administration leave will be allowed for tribal government employees during this shut down.  Additional closures to the government will be accessed each week.  The Tribal Government will need to access current economic conditions and cash flows for future decisions regarding use of Administrative leave.

In a press release yesterday the Warm Springs Gaming Enterprise stated that they “continue to monitor the COVID-19 pandemic closely.  After much consideration, extensive review of current situations with Tribal Council and their Board of Directors – Indian Head Casino management has extended their voluntary closure until further notice. “  The statement went on to say “At this time, we cannot provide a definite reopen date.”

DHS Staff visits to Warm Springs on Tuesday and Thursday afternoons has been suspended.  Anyone needing assistance with TANF and SNAP benefits will need to go to the Madras DHS office.  You can call 541-475-6131.

The Warm Springs Tribal Courthouse has announced they are closed for the remainder of this week.  Tentatively they will reinstate limited operations on Monday May 4, 2020.  Tribal Court has been doing limited operations mornings only – for daily court hearings for Criminal Bail/Bonds, Juvenile Prelims and Restraining Orders/Elder Protection Orders.

Oregon Gov. Kate Brown has ordered state agencies to plan for nearly $2 billion dollars in budget cuts over the next year. That’s a response to the toll that COVID-19 is likely to have on Oregon taxes. Dirk VanderHart reports.          “There’s no doubt Oregon will have far less money than it expected for the current two-year budget. The question is how much less.   While clarity won’t be available for weeks, officials believe the state could see a hit of two or even three billion dollars. And that might well mean significant budget cuts.  To begin bracing for impact, Brown ordered all agencies to submit plans to chop their general fund spending by almost 9 percent. The state says that could cover a worst-case scenario budget shortfall.  Even if the requested cuts aren’t required, they help the state plan for a downturn. In the meantime, Brown has ordered a partial hiring freeze. Some state departments are furloughing workers or planning layoffs.”

Oregon Vote by mail ballots are going in the mail today.  This year is the first time that the ballots will include pre-paid postage.  Voter information pamphlets were already mailed out.  Voters are encouraged to vote early by marking and signing your ballot and returning them in the pre-paid postage envelope.  Election day is May 19th.  If you are mailing in your ballot – do so by May12th.  After that its best to drop your ballot in an official drop box to ensure it gets to your county clerk before May 19th.  In Madras there is a drop box in the parking lot for the County Clerk.  In Warm Springs the Drop Box is across the street from the post office.  For Wasco County Voters the nearest drop box is in Maupin.