Oregon Gov. Kate Brown encouraged Oregon residents on Friday to call the police on their neighbors for violating COVID-19 lockdown orders. Last week, Brown implemented two-week-long statewide coronavirus orders which limit the number of people at a single household to no more than six people from two different households, among other restrictions.
In an interview with KGW8, Brown was asked directly if Oregonians should be calling the police on neighbors they suspect of violating the lockdown rules. Brown said, “This is no different than what happens if there’s a party down the street and it’s keeping everyone awake. What do neighbors do [in that case]? They call law enforcement because it’s too noisy. This is just like that. It’s like a violation of a noise ordinance.”
“That could be a yes,” the reporter repeated.
“Yes, yes,” Brown responded. “But honestly they shouldn’t have to. This is about saving lives and it’s about protecting our fellow Oregonians, it’s about protecting our families, it’s about protecting our vulnerable community members and frankly, it’s about protecting the entire state of Oregon.
Brown offered her comments less than a week before the Thanksgiving holiday. The coronavirus restrictions, referred to as the “freeze,” went into effect last week and will last two weeks across the entire state and for four weeks in Oregon’s Multnomah County. Brown enacted the freeze by executive order.
Along with limiting household visitors, the freeze also orders gyms and indoor entertainment venues closed and limits restaurants to delivery and take-out only services. Retail stores, grocery stores and pharmacies are also limited to 75 percent capacity. Religious services are also limited to 25 people indoors or 50 people outdoors and no indoor visitation is allowed at long-term care facilities.
Earlier in the interview segment, Brown responded to criticisms of her restrictions, including by Clackamas County Chair-elect Tootie Smith, who said the coronavirus freeze made Oregonians “second-rate slaves in their own homes.”
The Marion County Sheriff’s Office also reportedly said, “We recognize that we cannot arrest or enforce our way out of a pandemic.”
Brown, responding to the criticisms said, “Look, all of this is irresponsible. These are politicians seeking headlines, not public servants trying to save lives. My top priority as governor is to keep Oregonians healthy and safe, that’s where I’m focused. We continue to make decisions based on science and data.”
Brown said because she wants to ensure Oregon’s health infrastructure, including sufficient numbers of hospital beds and medical professionals, remain available if they need it, “So that’s why we’re moving forward with these common-sense measures, that are based on science and data.”