Hill To Hall March 10–13

March 10: Governor Brown takes executive action on climate change

Oregon Governor Kate Brown signed an executive order on March 10 intended to curb greenhouse emissions in the state, according to OPB. The 14-page order sets a goal to reduce Oregon’s greenhouse emissions to 45% below 1990 levels by 2035 and 80% by 2050. The order also directs state agencies to update state energy efficiency standards, alter building codes to conform to stricter energy standards and reduce food waste, OPB reported. According to AP News, the order also includes a mandate to set and enforce caps on pollution from industry and transportation fuels. The order does not create a marketplace for companies to buy emissions credits, which was included in Senate Bill 1530, according to Willamette Week. The governor’s executive action comes after the Republican walkout caused S.B. 1530 to expire when the legislative session ended.

March 11: Governor announces restrictions on mass gatherings


On March 11, Governor Brown announced a four-week statewide ban on any gatherings of more than 250 people, in an attempt to slow the spread of the coronavirus, according to AP News. In a news conference with other state and local officials on March 12, she clarified that the ban only applies to “organized events,” not “stores, shopping centers or schools,” The Oregonian reported. 


March 12: Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler declares coronavirus state of emergency


Mayor Wheeler announced a state of emergency for the City of Portland on March 12, The Oregonian reported. The order would allow city authorities to order evacuations, restrict large gatherings, set citywide curfews, regulate the sale of some items and institute rent control, according to The Oregonian. According to Portland Tribune, emergency winter shelters in the city will stay open to provide housing to the houseless, and water service will not be disconnected for any Portland residents unable to pay their service bills. 


March 12: Governor orders public schools to close through March 31


In a directive billed as an “extended spring break,” Governor Brown ordered all Oregon K-12 public schools to close starting March 16, through the end of the month, The Oregonian reported. Brown had previously been reluctant to shut schools, but said in a statement school employees, parents and students found it “impossible to functionally operate schools due to workforce issues and student absences,” according to OPB. The announcement comes after two school districts, Tigard-Tualatin and Lake Oswego, decided to close on their own, according to Portland Tribune.


March 13: PPB to reduce in-person responses to calls


Citing coronavirus concerns, the Portland Police Bureau will reduce the number of in-person responses to some non-life-threatening calls, instead directing officers to contact the caller by phone, KGW reported. The policy is meant to reduce officers’ exposure to the virus and to ensure that many officers do not become infected at once, according to The Oregonian. The PPB clarified in an update posted to their website that crimes like thefts in progress, burglaries, welfare checks and other emergency calls will receive an in-person response, and detectives will continue to investigate crimes. They also encourage the community to report crimes online if they can to free up emergency call lines.