Oregon lawmakers on Friday approved $30 million to turn hotels into shelter space in wildfire-affected areas — less than half of the money initially sought in a strikingly contentious and emotional committee hearing.
With many Democrats urging swift action as wildfires and a pandemic have exacerbated an existing shortage of shelter beds, two prominent Democratic Senators wound up siding with Republicans to block another $35 million that could have been used to site shelters more broadly.
The hearing of the Legislature’s Emergency Board was an inflection point after months of heavy emergency spending. Since April, lawmakers have repeatedly taken swift action to deal with crises, over concerns by some they were acting with too little deliberation. Those concerns were front and center Friday.