Oregon Governor Kate Brown announced Monday masks will be required outdoors wherever social distancing is not possible. She also banned indoor social gatherings of over 10 people. According to OPB, the new rules took effect Wednesday, and the social gathering limit does not apply to businesses or places of worship. Both phases 1 and 2 of Oregon’s reopening plan allowed for larger social gatherings—25 and 50 people, respectively—but were once again restricted by the new mandate as Oregon continues to see a rise in COVID-19 cases. According to AP News, Oregon saw more new cases in a single week than it did in the entire month of May.
Portland City Commissioner Jo Ann Hardesty wrote an open letter to Mayor Ted Wheeler on Thursday, demanding Wheeler either control the Portland Police Bureau and the force they use against protesters, or have her oversee the PPB instead. “I demand action right now,” Hardesty stated in the letter. “If you can’t control the police, give me the Portland Police Bureau.” According to OPB, Hardesty previously insisted she would turn down the opportunity to oversee the PPB if given the chance, but her opinion changed with the arrival of federal officers downtown. Hardesty denounced the federal officers’ actions in Portland, as well as collaboration between them and the PPB.
Oregon Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum announced Friday the Oregon Department of Justice will sue federal law enforcement over the actions of federal officers in Portland, as well as launch a criminal investigation into an incident of force. The incident, according to OPB, occurred when federal officers seriously injured a protester by shooting him in the head with a “less-lethal” munition. According to The Oregonian, Rosenblum is seeking a temporary restraining order to prevent federal officers from detaining Portland protesters. The lawsuit, according to Rosenblum, will name the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Marshals Service, U.S. Customs and Border Protection and the Federal Protection Service as defendants.
“I share the concerns of our state and local leaders…that the current escalation of fear and violence in downtown Portland is being driven by federal law enforcement tactics that are entirely unnecessary and out of character with the Oregon way,” Rosenblum said in a statement. “These tactics must stop. They not only make it impossible for people to assert their First Amendment rights to protest peacefully. They also create a more volatile situation on our streets.”