FEMA REQUESTS SHELTERING OPPORTUNITIES
The State of Oregon is experiencing some of the most unprecedented emergencies to date affecting thousands of people throughout the region. As people are forced to evacuate their homes, the State of Oregon is committed to finding non-congregate sheltering and assistance for evacuees. In partnership with the American Red Cross, State and Federal agencies to better coordinate efforts we are asking for your help to lodge evacuees in the short term. Your local Destination Management Organization (DMO)/Convention or Visitor Bureau/Chamber of Commerce will be calling you soon to collect lodging data on a regular basis. They will be asking lodging properties for the following:
If you have any questions about this process, please contact Matt Finn at Travel Oregon. Are you already providing lodging to evacuees? See below information to share with them.
There may also be a need for long term lodging for evacuees. If you are a lodging facility that can help the people of Oregon’s recent disasters, please register in the FEMA Emergency Lodging Assistance (ELA) Portal. Registration not only allows FEMA to easily locate your facility but also enables the agency to provide reimbursement for housing of evacuees. On this site, businesses providing lodging can find program FAQs, a user guide, and other information to clarify program requirements.
Please note that the Oregon Department of Revenue will not be collecting lodging taxes for rooms using either FEMA transition shelter assistance or Red Cross hotel vouchers due to wildfire displacement. We expect that local jurisdictions in Oregon will adopt the same practice.
If local transient lodging taxes do not need to be collected, depending on your local jurisdiction these room rents may still need to be reported with all other rents on any transient lodging tax reports you may fill out. However, those rents paid with vouchers would be deducted. Please check with your local government on this subject.
IMPORTANT INFORMATION FOR DISASTER SURVIVORS & BUSINESSES AFFECTED BY WILDFIRES
FEMA's highest priority right now is ensuring disaster survivors understand there are services available and the first step is getting registered. FEMA is asking if our lodging partners, especially those currently lodging evacuees, are willing to distribute the following attachments:
Please consider printing the flyer for display and have copies on hand for individuals. Also, it would be very helpful and appreciated if lodging partners could post one, or all of the attached graphics on their social medial accounts to help get the message out.
See also some important information for those working to recover from the fires:
The goal is to amplify the messaging to both lodging entities AND victims affected by the recent disasters to ensure they are registered with FEMA to get assistance.
For more wildfire information:
The word of the year is “unprecedented.” In our lifetimes, we have never seen such devastation – lives, property, and businesses lost to circumstances outside of our control.
What is incredible is how many of you have responded. You saw the need and rose to the occasion, offering lodging for people who have lost everything, free meals for the community, and hope for the future. There is a reason Oregon is known for its hospitality, and it’s on full display in the most challenging of times for our industry. Thank you! We couldn’t be more proud of our community’s spirit and resolve.
Because we know how challenging circumstances are right now, here is some information you need to know in response to Oregon’s wildfires.
Public Safety Power Shutoffs
Please be aware of current policies from your regional utilities. Both Portland General Electric and Pacific Power have indicated they will continue with policies to cut power in extreme conditions. Pacific Power has a monitor to check for potential areas affected by this policy. Portland General Electric has enacted shutoffs in response to the conditions near Mt. Hood; read more on the PGE FAQ.
Utilities are generally looking at several factors before making this decision and are committing to proactive communication. The Pacific Power criteria includes:
Be sure to have a plan in place for such emergency conditions. Contact your local health authority for more information on what they would require for maintaining operations in an emergency. Feel free to contact your Membership Representative with questions or to connect with others who have explored this subject.
How Can I Help?
Please visit Travel Oregon’s Ways To Help During Oregon Wildfires, a guide for where to donate money, supplies, and volunteer time.
To get the latest updates and links to safety registries, mental health resources, current condition reports, and more, visit Wildfire.oregon.gov. If you are looking for hotels offering discounts for fire evacuees in the valley, visit Travel Portland's resource page.
ORLA Government Affairs Coordinator
Update Sept. 10, 2020 - The Governor issued today Executive Order 20-42, declaring an abnormal market disruption as a result of the statewide wildfire emergency. This order is in response to reports of unusual increases in lodging rates for Oregonians who have evacuated fire areas and concern that the wildfire emergency may prevent ready availability of other essential consumer goods and services.
Oregon lodging operators have the opportunity to showcase our best in service and hospitality as we open our doors to displaced families needing shelter in the wake of wildfires. This is not the time for unreasonable price hikes as families and loved ones seek shelter at a time of crisis. Oregon’s hospitality industry answered the call for emergency responders fighting COVID around Oregon with over 300 lodging properties signing up to assist in our collective effort to mitigate the spread of the virus.
We are being called to action again by offering competitive pricing in our markets for those needing overnight shelters and to provide families and loved ones with a rate they can rely on as they determine their next steps. Be a leader in this space. Showcase what it means to bring Oregon hospitality to your guests and be a part of the rallying cry in a time of crisis by extending some comfort and certainty at your place of business for those you serve.
Be advised the Governor has initiated an Executive Order directing the Attorney General to prosecute price gouging. Let’s step up and prove this particular executive order is unnecessary because of the leadership our lodging operators provide in times of crisis.
How You Can Help:
Make sure to reach out to your local destination management and marketing organizations to provide information on the availability of rooms at your location. It is crucial that the Office of Emergency Management have the latest information regarding available rooms for overnight stays at reasonable rates. Look for more information coming soon on ways you can help from Oregon’s Office of Emergency Management.
Frequently Asked Questions from Oregon DOJ Consumer Protection:
What is price gouging?
When is a price “unconscionably excessive”?
Are there exceptions to price gouging, and if so - what are they?
What can I do if I suspect price gouging?
President & CEO
Oregon Restaurant & Lodging Association
Update Sept. 4: Over 500 volunteers participated in the cleanup event and 3,290 pounds of trash out were removed out of downtown Portland! Many thanks to all the volunteers from Portland hotels, the Portland Lodging Alliance, Portland Business Alliance, and ORLA staff for their efforts. Some of the news coverage:
Portland, Aug. 27 - SOLVE, Portland Business Alliance, Portland Lodging Alliance, and others are rallying together to host a cleanup of Downtown Portland on September 3. This event open to the public for anyone who is interested in volunteering for the cleanup effort. Register here.
SOLVE has hosted several cleanups downtown since June, supporting hundreds of Portlanders who have wanted to care for their community through volunteer litter cleanup. The purpose of the September 3 Downtown Portland Cleanup is to send a clear message to the Portland community that the Portland business district is an open, safe, and clean place to visit, while inviting the community to join the effort.
“As the challenges in Portland continue to impact businesses, I think we all have a responsibility” explains George Schweitzer, Chairman for the Portland Lodging Alliance and Managing Director of The Benson Hotel. “This is an important event for businesses to come together, along with the Portland community at large, to show that we are a strong and resilient city, and that we can come together to restore our vibrant streets so that people can feel safe to explore and help our businesses thrive.”
Kris Carico, CEO of SOLVE echoes his sentiments stating, “SOLVE prides itself on offering a safe space for anyone who wants to make a positive difference in their community. A volunteer litter cleanup brings everyone together because it is a simple activity that all can support. At the end of the day, it’s about caring for the place we call home.”
The event will begin at multiple locations throughout downtown, to accommodate the need for social distancing during volunteer check-in, while also allowing for the maximum amount of interested volunteers to participate given group gathering restrictions. The event will follow all SOLVE’s COVID-19 Safety Guidelines including requiring participants to wear a face covering, maintain a minimum of six feet of distance, and only providing sanitized cleanup equipment to volunteers, among other measures.
Volunteers will focus on removing large items of litter and debris, while also focusing on picking up cigarette butts that often end up in storm drains and pollute the nearby Willamette River and other waterways. Community members who would like to get involved in the volunteer event should visit solveoregon.org to pre-register.
SOLVE is a statewide non-profit organization that brings Oregonians together to improve our environment and build a legacy of stewardship. Since 1969, the organization has grown from a small, grassroots group to a national model of volunteer action. Today, SOLVE mobilizes and trains tens of thousands of volunteers of all ages across Oregon to clean and restore our neighborhoods and natural areas, and to build a legacy of stewardship for our state. Visit solveoregon.org for more information.
The Portland Business Alliance is greater Portland’s Chamber of Commerce. Our mission is to create opportunity and advance well-being for all who live and work in the greater Portland and SW Washington region. Our vision is a healthy and resilient business ecosystem. Visit PortlandAlliance.com for more information.
The Portland Lodging Alliance is a volunteer-led sub-chapter of the Oregon Restaurant & Lodging Association (ORLA). Members of ORLA's staff will be participating in this event alongside the Portland Lodging Alliance in support of the lodging industry and improving the downtown environment.
Contact: Larissa Gordon, 860-942-9108, firstname.lastname@example.org Contact: Larissa Gordon
ORLA is committed to welcoming diverse perspectives, experiences and approaches to foster a stronger, inclusive, and more informed hospitality industry. As an association representing a business sector with more minority-owned and female-owned businesses than any other industry, we do not tolerate racism, discrimination or hatred. We are an industry focused on building communities–inclusive of all–and we are taking more proactive steps to ensure we are leading by example.
To provide authentic leadership and help promote diversity and inclusion, ORLA strives to:
We need to do more, and we will do more to be a part of the change that must take place starting in our own communities.