‘Open Oregon’ rally in Salem: ‘No light at end of tunnel’

Coronavirus

Rally at State Capitol to tell Kate Brown to re-open the state

SALEM, Ore. (KOIN) — Many Oregonians are frustrated by the “stay home” order during the coronavirus pandemic, especially when they aren’t seeing many cases from testing in their rural Oregon counties.

They held a drive-by rally circling the State Capitol in Salem to show their belief it’s time to re-open businesses. Many support a phase-in of openings throughout the state.

“Think about the people who have businesses and now have no way of having an income,” said demonstrator Ray Ogden from Salem.

As a parade of cars drove past the Capitol and honked their horns, a smattering of people waving US flags, Trump-Pence banners and MAGA items stood on the sidewalks outside the building.

The Capitol is closed. Governor Kate Brown is not there. But she and this building represent the decision-making to keep businesses closed and people home in the effort to flatten the curve and slow the spread of the novel coronavirus.

Nicole, a Springfield resident who did not want to be fully identified, attended the rally. “We’re looking at being under house arrest for about a month now and the worst of it there is no hope, no light at the end of the tunnel.”

Rural Republican lawmakers sent letters to Brown asking her to re-open medical and healthcare services in central and eastern Oregon.

Earlier this week, the governor said in order to re-open businsess, Oregon needs to see an overall consistent decline in virus cases, more testing and enough personal protective equipment for workers and the public to protect themselves.

“Are we going to taking a geographic approach to reopening the state? Yes, that is one of the things under consideration,” said Brown during a briefing this week.

State health leaders are also weighing the risks of reopening in rural areas where there are few or even no hospitals in some counties, and limited medical staff. But those at the protest today said, with people out of work, struggling with signing up for unemployment, there needs to be a change now.

“There will be plenty of time for finger-pointing later. We just need action now,” said Nicole. “And those people can’t get assistance — well, then let’s reopen Oregon.”

A larger ‘Re-open Oregon’ rally is set for May 2.

This rally was similar to others earlier this week in other states under “stay home” orders.

Pro-Trump protesters push back on stay-at-home orders

(AP) — In places like Ohio, Oklahoma, Texas and Virginia, small-government groups, supporters of President Donald Trump, anti-vaccine advocates, gun rights backers and supporters of right-wing causes have united behind a deep suspicion of efforts to shut down daily life to slow the spread of the coronavirus. As their frustration with life under lockdown grows, they’ve started to openly defy the social distancing rules in an effort to put pressure on governors to ease them.

Protesters carry rifles near the steps of the Michigan State Capitol building in Lansing, Mich., Wednesday, April 15, 2020. Flag-waving, honking protesters drove past the Michigan Capitol on Wednesday to show their displeasure with Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s orders to keep people at home and businesses locked during the new coronavirus COVID-19 outbreak. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)

Some of the protests have been small events, promoted via Facebook groups that have popped up in recent days and whose organizers are sometimes difficult to identify. Others are backed by groups funded by prominent Republican donors, some with ties to Trump. The largest so far, a rally of thousands that jammed the streets of Lansing, Michigan, on Wednesday, looked much like one of the president’s rallies — complete with MAGA hats or Trump flags — or one of the tea party rallies from a decade ago.

But the president and some of his supporters are impatient. Thousands of people in their cars packed the streets of Lansing to protest Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s stay-at-home order and other restrictions. Outside the Capitol, some chanted “Lock her up,” a throwback to Trump’s calls during the 2016 election about his rival Hillary Clinton. One woman held a sign reading “Heil Witmer.”

Continuing Coverage: Coronavirus

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