200325-A-LM216-354: Oregon Army National Guard Spc. Gerod Martin (left) and Sgt. Luke Fox, prepare a trailer and Light Medium Tactical Vehicle (LMTV) for his team to deliver 150 military cots along with 150 blankets and hygiene packs provided by the Oregon Department of Administrative Services to La Grande, Ore., March 26, 2020. The team of four Oregon Army National Guardsman will travel from Salem to La Grande at the request of Union County Emergency Management in response to the COVID-19 situation. Additionally, at the request of Grant County, the team will deliver and assist in setting up three large tents to Blue Mountain Hospital in John Day, Ore., to be used, if needed, to support temporary medical stations. (U.S. Army National Guard photo by Sgt. 1st Class Zachary Holden, Oregon Military Department Public Affairs Office)

Oregon lawmakers asking for answers on alleged Or. National Guard member mistreatment

(Photo by Sgt. 1st Class Zachary Holden, Oregon Military Department Public Affairs Office)

WASHINGTON D.C.- Several Oregon lawmakers are asking for answers on the alleged mistreatment of Oregon National Guard servicemembers assisting with the state’s COVID response.

In a letter to Oregon Governor Kate Brown and Major General Michael E. Stencel, lawmakers called attention to reports they’ve received from ORNG members regarding mismanagement, lack of organization, delay of benefits and pay, and failure to pay ORNG members what they are owed. They say these reports indicate a potentially disturbing pattern of mistreatment during this recent ORNG deployment.

The letter includes U.S. Representative Peter DeFazio, along with Senators Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley, and Representatives Earl Blumenauer, Kurt Schrader, and Suzanne Bonamici.

“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,” they wrote. The full letter can be found here.

They requested a detailed response from the state on how it will address the issues and called on leaders to immediately rectify the reported accounts.

Grace Smith is co-anchor for NBC5 News at 6. The Chicago native is a recent graduate of University of Miami with a Communication Honors degree specializing in Broadcast Journalism. She minored in Creative Writing and focused her senior thesis on social media usage and engagement. During her time at the University of Miami, she anchored multiple award-winning student television programs, covering everything from music festivals to the Super Bowl. Though she loved Miami's beaches, she's thrilled to be in the Pacific Northwest where she can experience all four seasons and have a real Christmas tree! When she’s not at work, you can find Grace glued to any television showing live sports (especially if it's the Chicago Bears) or attempting a new recipe as she learns to cook.
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