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Lawmakers put pressure on state after reports of National Guard mistreatment

They wrote a letter pushing for the state to address the issues, which they call a systemic problem.

Posted: Oct 13, 2021 12:13 PM
Updated: Oct 13, 2021 5:50 PM

SALEM, Ore. – Several Oregon lawmakers are putting pressure on the state to address recent claims that National Guard members activated to help with the COVID-19 response are being mistreated.

A letter to Gov. Kate Brown and Major General Michael E. Stencel alleges mismanagement, delay of benefits and pay, and more.

“Such treatment of our service members should be unacceptable,” the letter reads.

It was signed by Senators Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley and by Congress members Peter DeFazio, Earl Blumenauer, Kurt Schrader, and Suzanne Bonamici.

In August, Brown announced up to 1,500 Oregon National Guard (ORNG) members would be brought in to help with the state’s most recent surge of cases.

What allegedly ensued was a chaotic and disorganized activation. The letter claims that once members had completed the normal administrative tasks, the state was not prepared to quickly place members in areas of need and provided contradictory information about where they would serve.


RELATED: Kingsley Field airmen rerouted to help Sky Lakes in Klamath Falls


Some were left hanging up to mid-September, according to the lawmakers, some had to reserve hotels or other accommodations with their own money and others reportedly found that their travel vouchers weren’t recognized.

Through this all, the lawmakers allege the members were stuck in limbo, unable to go back to their civilian jobs.

“ORNG Members are fellow Oregonians who give their time and sacrifice to serve our communities in times of need. Many ORNG Members have full-time jobs, families, and other responsibilities that they willingly pause in order to serve their fellow Oregonians. ORNG Members’ heroic efforts are bolstering hospitals and helping our communities and loved ones during a deadly pandemic. ORNG members deserve effective and efficient leadership, support, and management, and they deserve to receive the full pay and benefits they have earned,” the letter reads.

The letter also reports that when the initial 30-day activation was coming to a close, the state allegedly intentionally allowed these orders to lapse and issued new orders instead of extending the current one. This prevents members from qualifying for benefit increases and pay that would come from an extension.

Similar concerns have reportedly been shared with lawmakers about previous Oregon National Guard deployments.

The lawmakers are calling on the state to address the issues set forth in the letter, calling it a systemic problem.

Oregon Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 356061

Reported Deaths: 4275
CountyCasesDeaths
Multnomah55695704
Washington38673322
Marion36719454
Clackamas29660309
Lane27624302
Jackson22982310
Deschutes20211125
Umatilla14451150
Linn12780130
Douglas12065243
Josephine9349196
Yamhill8674113
Klamath7965118
Polk733681
Malheur561776
Benton546531
Coos501294
Columbia379744
Jefferson372352
Union318449
Lincoln318039
Crook287546
Wasco287441
Clatsop243329
Baker202529
Tillamook196432
Hood River192137
Morrow184423
Curry180025
Harney113726
Grant100013
Lake92412
Wallowa68612
Gilliam1544
Sherman1503
Wheeler1121
Unassigned00

California Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 4842472

Reported Deaths: 71202
CountyCasesDeaths
Los Angeles148181426506
Riverside3712935030
San Diego3660564183
San Bernardino3582135663
Orange3241845550
Sacramento1593332308
Kern1459621644
Fresno1458772084
Santa Clara1453911896
Alameda1205301400
San Joaquin1025821721
Ventura1009841166
Contra Costa998841008
Stanislaus860701331
Tulare80203967
San Francisco54375646
San Mateo54112622
Monterey50885587
Solano46021341
Santa Barbara45160523
Merced42299581
Sonoma40925402
Placer39342425
Imperial35999766
Kings32801322
San Luis Obispo29945332
Madera23876285
Shasta23851352
Butte23738270
Santa Cruz21018220
Yolo20353248
Marin17692244
El Dorado17169149
Sutter13913175
Napa12882100
Yuba1008582
Tehama9510110
Humboldt9243108
Nevada914290
Mendocino763687
Lassen754347
San Benito744472
Tuolumne688089
Lake6605104
Amador544064
Siskiyou450546
Glenn436733
Calaveras389381
Del Norte358342
Colusa307218
Inyo211140
Mono16703
Plumas16417
Mariposa133416
Trinity87711
Modoc6865
Sierra1880
Unassigned1820
Alpine1030
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