Over 150 people lined up outside the Rogue Credit Union in Roseburg on Thursday with the hope of getting a one-time $500 emergency relief payment from the state.
People waited on the sidewalk along Northwest Garden Valley Boulevard for hours in 90-degree heat, some with lawn chairs and umbrellas and others with neither, as employees of the credit union distributed applications.
The first page of the application had four questions, and if someone answered yes to all of them, then they may be eligible for the $500 COVID-19 relief.
As of Friday morning, the funds have run out and the program is not accepting new applications, according to its website.
Dereck Newstrand had the application folded in his shirt pocket as he waited in line with his dog Mik, who sat in the shade of the building. Newstrand, who was self-employed, said he joined the line nearly three hours earlier, around 12:30 p.m. after a stranger at Walmart told him about it.
“I’ve got several bills I need to get paid off,” he said.
Newstrand said he thinks a lot of people are in the same tough financial situation in Douglas County. He had plans for a 3D printing business interrupted by the pandemic.
To be considered for the relief assistance, applicants must have earned $4,000 per month or less before they lost income due to COVID-19. They also need to have not received all of the unemployment benefits they are owed, be an Oregon resident over 18, and be able to connect their financial hardship to Governor Kate Brown’s Stay Home, Save Lives executive orders 20-07 or 20-12.
Jaiden Darby said she lined up at 11:30 a.m. after recently losing her job.
She said if she gets approved for the payment, most of it will go toward diapers and other necessities for her daughter.
“The next step, realistically, is job hunting,” she said. “That’s my biggest thing. I just want to put this money away so I can lay back on it if need be.”
After the Oregon Legislature approved the $35 million in emergency funding, eight credit unions and two banks agreed to help distribute the $500 payments to around 70,000 Oregonians. In Roseburg, Umpqua Bank and Rogue Credit Union began distribution Wednesday.
Tina Trujillo said she wants to use the funding to get Chromebooks to make sure her children will have access to remote learning.
She said that the line, though long, was full of courteous people. Trujillo balanced an empty plastic cup on her head while waiting, after some of those people had handed out cold water from a cooler.
Despite the heat and the boredom, Trujillo said the check was worth the wait.
“It’s important because not everyone’s going to get this chance,” Trujillo said. “And who’s to say when the next stimulus bill is going to get passed, or what the future has in store for us after all this.”
For more information about the Oregon Emergency COVID-19 Relief Program, visit emergencychecks.oregon.gov.