Franklin Boulevard gets $19M for updates

SPRINGFIELD – The U.S. Department of Transportation is investing $19 million to perform safety and mobility updates to Franklin Boulevard, announced senators Ron Wyden, Jeff Merkley and representative Peter DeFazio last week. 

The grant comes to Springfield as part of the Rebuilding American Infrastructure with Sustainability and Equity (RAISE) Discretionary Grant program and will improve the quality and safety of the boulevard, Merkley said.

“The multimodal transformation of Franklin Boulevard has been a huge priority in our community for years,” DeFazio said. “I’m glad our community will receive funding to transform this major, outdated state highway and finally remove barriers to investment, mobility, and access.”

Springfield mayor Sean VanGordon said this award will “set the tone locally for America’s planned reinvestment in critical infrastructure over the next decade to support quality of life, jobs, transportation choices and a healthy local economy. ” 

Emergency rental help pauses Dec.1

There will be a pause placed on accepting new applications for the Oregon Emergency Rental Assistance (OERAP) program for six weeks on Dec. 1. Anyone who has fallen behind on rent or may get behind on December rent is encouraged to apply for emergency rental assistance right away, but before Dec. 1 at 11:59 p.m. at oregonrentalassistance.org.

As of last week, Oregon Housing and Community Services (OHCS) and Local Program Administrators (LPAs) have paid $141.3 million in federal emergency rental assistance to 20,962 applicants, up from $130.6 million and 19,613 applicants the week prior. 

To date, OHCS and LPAs have: 

* Paid $141,384,835 to landlords and tenants to help – over $20 million in the past two weeks alone - 20,962 Oregon households

* Processed an additional $29.6 million in funds for 3,544 households.

* Received more than $373.3 million in funding requests via applications. 

* Received over 49,939 completed applications. 

Quick vax stats

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 70% of people in Oregon have received a COVID-19 vaccine. More than seven in 10 people in Oregon of all age groups have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccination. Oregon now ranks 19th among U.S. states and the District of Columbia for the percentage of its total population who are protected by at least one dose of a vaccine.

Oregon Health Authority’s most recent update on COVID-19 breakthrough cases found that 74.5% of the 5,924 reported COVID-19 cases between Nov. 7 and Nov. 13 occurred in unvaccinated people.

Schulz named Springfield bank branch manager 

Patty Schulz is the new vice president and branch manager of Springfield’s Citizens Bank at 2355 Olympic St.

Schulz has 25 years of Oregon community banking experience, having first started her banking career with Umpqua Bank. She spent 17 years with Liberty Bank as a relationship banker and then branch manager. Most recently, Schulz was a commercial loan officer at SELCO Community Credit Union. 

She has lived in Springfield for over 20 years and has been a member of the Springfield Rotary Club for the past three years.