Eugene, OR—Governor Kate Brown today visited Eugene, with stops at the University of Oregon's COVID-19 testing operation facility and a Homes for Good permanent housing community for families who were formerly experiencing chronic homelessness.
University of Oregon COVID-19 Testing Facility Tour
At the University of Oregon, the Governor was briefed on the university's partnership with the Oregon Health Authority to provide COVID-19 testing for public and private K-12 schools throughout Oregon during the 2021-22 school year. She also visited the lab where the testing kits are created.
"I am committed to keeping our kids learning in the classroom this school year," said Governor Brown. "I am so thankful for the University of Oregon's partnership with the Oregon Health Authority to provide free weekly COVID-19 screening tests to participating schools."
Continued Governor Brown: “Our state has benefited greatly from having a research university like the University of Oregon during the pandemic. The UO’s world-class researchers, facilities, and the logistical capabilities have helped the state mitigate spread and keep K-12 schools open by offering free testing for kids.”
"The University of Oregon is proud to partner with the Oregon Health Authority and local school districts for a testing program specifically geared to helping K-12 students return to classrooms and in-person learning," said Cassandra Moseley, Interim Vice President for Research and Innovation at the University of Oregon. "As a research university, we continue to look for ways we can use our expertise and resources to support Oregonians and the greater public in the fight against COVID-19."
The Governor was joined on the COVID-19 test facility tour by Michael Schill, University of Oregon President, Cass Moseley, UO Interim Vice President for Research and Innovation, Brian Fox, UO COVID Testing Director, and Bob Guldberg, Knight Campus Executive Director.
Roundtable Discussion on Child and Family Wellbeing During the COVID-19 Pandemic
After the COVID-19 testing facility tour, the Governor participated in a roundtable discussion with Phil Fisher, UO Professor and Director of the UO Center for Translational Neuroscience, Cristi Carman, RAPID-EC Project Manager, Andy Dettman, Center Director for New Dream Family Center, Courtney Helstein, Political Director for Family Forward Oregon, and caregivers.
"It is my goal to pursue a three-pronged approach to building our early childcare and education system: equity, quality, and supply," said Governor Brown. "Under my leadership, Oregon has expanded early care and education programs, most notably high-quality preschool.
"The pandemic revealed childcare to be essential in maintaining a diverse and productive workforce," said Phil Fisher, UO Professor of Psychology and Director of the UO Center for Translational Neuroscience. "Governor Brown has long been a champion for Oregon's working families and childcare providers. From the perspective of our research on promoting healthy early brain development, we see an urgent need for federal and state investments. When the government makes investments such as the Child Tax Credit expansion and financial support to the child care workforce, children are lifted out of poverty, and all families thrive. I join Governor Brown in calling on Congress to include childcare infrastructure in the reconciliation package."
Homes for Good Permanent Housing Site
Following the UO visit, the Governor visited The Keystone, a permanent supportive community. Homes for Good—Lane County's hub for affordable, low-income housing and services—opened The Keystone in Eugene in August 2020 as a permanent supportive housing apartment community for families who, prior to moving in, were experiencing homelessness.
"Each and every Oregonian deserves a safe and stable home, and we must continue to expand partnerships at the local, county, state, and federal level to works towards the broader goal of ending homelessness," said Governor Brown. "The Keystone was funded in part through partnerships with the Oregon Health Authority and Oregon Housing and Community Services, and I am pleased to see that these resources were put to good use—15 families who were previously experiencing chronic homelessness will now be housed here."
"Homes for Good and Governor Brown share a vision that housing is a human right. With Governor’s Brown support we are creating permanent supportive housing communities like The Keystone to support the healing process for parents and children who are experiencing homelessness," said Jacob Fox, Executive Director of Homes for Good.
The Governor was joined at The Keystone by Jacob Fox, Homes for Good Executive Director, Laurie Trieger, Lane County Board Commissioner and Homes for Good Board Member, Michelle Thurston, Homes for Good Board Chair, Michelle Hankes, CEO of ShelterCare, Cat Mathewson, Sheltercare Development Director, Royanna Sigler, Sheltercare Housing Services for Families Team Lead, and Chelsea Sjostrom, Sheltercare Housing Services for Families Case Manager.
Photos of the event can be found here.