Oregon Governor Kate Brown has extended the COVID-19 state of emergency for 60 days. The state of emergency declaration is the legal foundation for the executive orders Brown has issued throughout the pandemic, including mandated face coverings for people in indoor public spaces starting July 1, according to The Statesman Journal. According to Brown, as of Tuesday, there have been over 8,600 coronavirus cases in the state, with over a quarter of those cases identified in the past two weeks. The Oregon Health Authority said Tuesday that 207 people in Oregon have died from the disease. According to AP News, Brown said, “The choices made by individual Oregonians will decide whether Oregon flattens the curve of new infections or sees a spike that could overwhelm hospital capacity in the next month.”
Oregon House Speaker Tina Kotek condemned the police response, and specifically their use of tear gas, on Wednesday, after more than two dozen arrests following a conflict between police and protesters early morning hours Wednesday, according to AP News. In a letter to Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler, Kotek called the officers’ actions “unacceptable.” According to The Portland Tribune, Kotek criticized the Portland Police Bureau for creating “unsafe” and “unacceptable” conditions in the city. Police had declared a riot late Wednesday, and later a crowd surrounded the police union headquarters on Lombard Street, where the crowd was ordered to disperse. Police then used CS gas—better known as tear gas—along with mortar flashbangs and crowd-control munitions. Kotek said neighbors told her there was “no risk to the public” until the dispersal orders were given. “It showed an utter inability to exercise restraint. Smart policing is when an officer can differentiate a minor provocation from a serious threat. Nothing about this was smart,” Kotek stated. “The declaration of a ‘riot’ was an abuse of the statute. Therefore, the ensuing actions of the PPB were unlawful.” While not directly addressing her complaints, Wheeler’s office said it appreciated Kotek’s input.
Governor Brown described the behavior of four state troopers as “inexcusable” after a recently surfaced video of them in a coffee shop without wearing masks, according to AP News. The state troopers entered the coffee shop in Corvallis on Wednesday, the same day Brown’s executive order mandating face masks in indoor public spaces went into effect. According to the store’s assistant manager Travis Boss, who spoke with The Oregonian, the first trooper to arrive insisted that Brown “has no authority to take our civil liberties,” and after continuing to place his order, allegedly said, “F*** Kate Brown.” Three troopers entered afterwards, also sans masks. After the incident was reported, Oregon State Police launched an internal investigation, and later wrote an apology to the coffee shop and community via Twitter.