SALEM, Ore - Oregon Sen. President Pro-Tempore James Manning Jr. (D-Eugene) introduced legislation Monday to provide support to the thousands of Ukrainian war refugees now in Oregon.
The bill comes just ahead of the one-year anniversary of Russia’s unprovoked invasion of Ukraine, which has sparked Europe’s largest humanitarian crisis since World War II and displaced more than six million Ukrainians.
More than 4,500 Ukrainian refugees are currently in Oregon, according to the Uniting for Ukraine program.
This bill, based on expert input from the Immigrant & Refugee Community Organizations (IRCO), would remove two substantial barriers to basic resources that Ukrainian refugees face during resettlement in Oregon.
On housing, the new legislation will ensure Ukrainian refugees who do not have an Oregon cosigner can still apply for, and receive, rental housing in Oregon.
On driver’s licenses, the bill will additionally waive the written and driving test for Ukrainian refugees applying for a driver’s license – as well as the accompanying fees – provided the applicant holds a valid Ukrainian driver’s license.
“By removing these obstacles to basic needs, Oregon can ease Ukrainian refugees’ transition to life in Oregon at this unimaginably stressful time,” said Senator Manning.
“It is our responsibility and humanitarian duty to not only open our state to these refugees but to do what we can to make their lives easier, ensuring access to housing, mobility, and state-issued identification.”