While the partial federal government shutdown enters its second month and Congressional action remains unclear, the reality is that many federal employees are not receiving paychecks.

The Oregonian newspaper reported Thursday that Oregon Senate President Peter Courtney has introduced legislation that would allow federal workers in Oregon who are working but not being paid to receive unemployment benefits.

Courtney’s bill will have an emergency clause and be retroactive, with a draft expected by next week, the Oregonian reports.

Meanwhile, here is how folks in the Mid-Columbia are helping their neighbors, collated by staff with input from Hood River County Chamber of Commerce:

‘Cup of kindness’ for furloughed workers

Coffee houses in the Hood River area have joined forces to offer one cup of coffee or tea to furloughed government workers.

Hood River photographer Peter Marbach was struggling with how to show people affected by the shutdown that the Gorge community cares.

“Coming together and sharing a cup of coffee with someone who is hurting can provide a moment of comfort. It’s a small gesture but one that shows the community cares,” said Marbach. “This is a quiet kind of suffering, out of sight from the general public.”

Participating coffee spots in theHood River and Parkdale area include Pine Street Bakery, Dog River, Doppio, Ground, Wake and Bake and Blue Canoe.

Across the river, Mugs in Bingen and White Salmon Bakery are also on board. Affected workers just need to show a government I.D. at participating establishments.

“It takes so little effort to brighten someone’s day. There are endless possibilities for other businesses to step up and offer some kindness, be it a meal, a movie pass, ski lift ticket. The only limitation is your imagination,” said Marbach.

Restaurant and service discounts

Boda’s Kitchen, Double Mountain Brewery and Solstice Wood Fire Café are offering 15 percent off to all displaced federal workers with a federal I.D. for the duration of the shutdown.

Cascade Acupuncture: One free Happy Hour Acupuncture Treatment, valued at $25.

New Day Aesthetic Medicine: 15 percent off all regular priced services and/or products for the duration of the shutdown, plus the option to defer payment up to 30 days after the shutdown resolves. Federal employees or spouses must show federal I.D. at time of service/purchase to verify.

Thunder Island Brewing: A free beer or take $5.50 off of your bill, per furloughed employee.

Help offered at FISH

FISH Food Bank invites furloughed government employees to its Hood River site Monday and Friday from 3:30-5 p.m., Wednesday from 3:30-5:30 p.m., or Saturday from 10 a.m. to noon.

“Our mission is to help those folks who are in crisis,” said FISH press release.

Bring proof of residency in Hood River or Mosier; nothing else is needed. For more information, call 541-386-3474.

Banks offer loan options

Washington Federal is offering Federal government employees on furlough “Government Employee Quick Relief Loans” to current or new clients.

The loans are zero-percent interest for 90 days. Bring your last funded Federal paycheck along with either a furlough notice or zero-balance pay-stub to apply.

For more information, contact Tonia Carter, branch manager, 541-386-4441 or Tonia.Carter@wafd.com.

Pacific NW Federal Credit Union: Visit www.pnwfcu.org/home/financial/furlough_loan for furlough options.

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