Hill to Hall April 26–May 2

April 26: Governor speaks to delays in unemployment benefits

According to AP News, Oregon Governor Kate Brown apologized Sunday to Oregon residents who are encountering continued problems applying for unemployment benefits. Reports of errors in Oregon’s outmoded system have caused delays to some 334,000 Oregonians who have lost their jobs in the last weeks because of the lockdown due to COVID-19. “If you’re waiting on an unemployment claim: I hear your frustration,” Brown wrote on Twitter. “I’m sorry for the delays.” 


April 29: Portland mayor’s campaign sued over large contributions

Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler was sued by multiple parties on April 29, including rival candidate Sarah Iannarone and advocates for election finance reform, over large contributions to his reelection campaign. They claim his campaign acceptance of multiple large donations totaling nearly $175,000 should be illegal, according to The Oregonian. The donations challenged by the lawsuit are all above $500, higher than the donor limit approved by Portland voters in 2018. The $500-per-donor limit was initially ruled as unconstitutional by a Multnomah county circuit court, according to AP News. However, the Oregon Supreme Court overruled the decision last week, ruling limiting campaign contributions is not a violation of free speech. Election officials plan to enforce the donor limit beginning May 4, but not to donations that have already been made.


May 2: Hundreds demonstrate against stay-at-home order on Capitol steps

A crowd of hundreds gathered on the steps of the Capitol in Salem on May 2, protesting against Oregon’s stay-at-home order. According to AP News, most demonstrators did not wear facemasks. Many protesters instead waved American flags and signs supporting President Trump’s 2020 re-election campaign. Organizers of the event described the social distancing orders by Oregon Governor Kate Brown as government overreach, according to The Oregonian. A smaller group of healthcare workers also demonstrated at the capitol for a phased plan to reopen the state, but were largely ignored by other protesters. 

May 2: Governor prolongs Oregon’s state of emergency to July 6

Oregon Governor Kate Brown signed an executive order on May 2 to extend Oregon’s state of emergency until early July, according to The Oregonian. The original declaration, signed March 8, was set to expire on May 7. The new executive order gives Brown the legal authority to maintain the stay-at-home order, a moratorium on residential and commercial evictions and the ability to issue new executive orders in the state. The new order extends roughly three months, but can be terminated earlier with another order.