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Gov. Brown calling lawmakers back for special session

SALEM, Ore. (AP) — Gov. Kate Brown is calling Oregon lawmakers back to the Capitol for a one-day special session, asking them to approve hundreds of millions of dollars to aid people and communities struggling with the pandemic and the effect of this summer's devastating wildfires.

In a statement Tuesday Bown said the Legislature would convene Dec. 21 and consider $800 million in relief funding.

"Oregon families are struggling with unemployment, housing, food insecurity, and paying their bills — and those most impacted are the same people who are often left behind, including rural, Black, Indigenous, Latino/Latina/Latinx, Asian, Pacific Islander, and Tribal communities," the Democrat said in a statement.

Since the start of the pandemic in Oregon, more than 95,000 COVID-19 cases have been confirmed and 1,161 people have died. Shutdowns and restrictions imposed because of COVID-19 have also caused widespread job losses and business closures.

Deadly wildfires in late summer also burned about 1,500 square miles across the state and destroyed more than 2,000 residences.

Environmental Protection Agency workers remove hazardous materials Thursday from a Talent neighborhood that was destroyed in the Almeda fire. (Mail Tribune file photo)