The American Rescue Plan (ARP) was passed earlier this year and has made some very strong promises. This nationwide program aims to provide roughly $1 trillion “towards building a bridge to economic recovery for working families,” according to the brief released by the White House.
Locally, however, this bill aims to have a massive impact on the Oregon economy, following the repeated blows dealt by COVID-19. The plan will provide roughly $6.4 billion in federal money to help the state recover from the pandemic.
Rent assistance for those struggling to pay rent regularly through the Oregon Emergency Rental Assistance program;
Assistance with acquiring stimulus checks, with a typical family of four with a household income below $110,000 eligible for an average of $5,600 in rescue funds, and $1,400 for qualifying individuals;
An additional $300 per week for unemployment benefits for those affected by the pandemic (this is only valid through Sept. 6, 2021).
Among the stated goals for Oregon’s funds allocated through the ARP is to “address the disparities that were exacerbated by the pandemic,” according to Governor Kate Brown’s guiding principles for the bill.
Women, BIPOC communities, and those harmed by the pandemic and natural disasters in the past year-and-a-half are among those expected to receive assistance.
Investing in Oregon’s hardest-hit workers — in other words, those under or unemployed due to the pandemic;
Reinvesting in innovative housing;
Supporting resilient rural communities;
Supporting Oregon’s struggling workforce;
Workforce development, or “creating opportunities for Oregonians”;
Supporting small businesses and getting them back up and running;
Investing in Oregon’s infrastructure;
Oregonians investing in Oregon;
Safely reopening Oregon’s economy; and,
Innovation in manufacturing.
These steps are admittedly not entirely clear at the moment, though one can hope that among the infrastructure reworks is a rebuilding of the unemployment system, which has struggled heavily during the pandemic.
While many of Governor Brown’s promises sound great, they have little backing information on specifically how the 10-point plan will be achieved.
In Portland, which will be receiving $208 million, there are some more concrete plans laid out. These include upgrades to public health and emergency response systems, investments in city infrastructure such as water and sewer, and premium pay for workers performing essential services.