Protesters gather at home of regulator over COVID gym fine


Patriot Prayer demonstrated in Silverton

SILVERTON, Ore. (KOIN/AP) — About 50 protesters converged on the Silverton, Oregon, home of a state workplace safety regulator to protest a large fine levied against a Salem gym owner.

The Oregonian/OregonLive reports that Silverton Police Chief Jim Anglemier identified the protesters who gathered Sunday afternoon as members and affiliates of Patriot Prayer, a conservative group founded by Joey Gibson.

Anglemier told KOIN 6 News “there were no problems, no issues” during the demonstration.

However, in a statement, Michael Wood, Oregon OSHA’s administrator, said the agency worked with the enforcement officer to help minimize the impact of the demonstration.

“Such events are rare, and they should remain so. Targeting individual staff at their personal homes for protest activities may be legal, but that does not make it appropriate,” Wood said. “Decisions about enforcement activities are made under the authority of the administrator, and concerns about such activities should be addressed at the same level.”

Courthouse Club Fitness in Salem, November 30, 2020 (KOIN)

The controversy stems from a $90,000 penalty issued against a Salem gym and its owner, who refused to comply with Gov. Kate Brown’s economic “freeze.”

Brown announced the freeze earlier this month in an effort to stem the explosion of new COVID-19 cases. The statewide freeze ends on Wednesday, and will be replaced by a new set of restrictions on Thursday dependent on counties’ risk levels. There are currently 21 counties slated to be under the highest warning category on Thursday.

More than 70,000 cases of COVID-19 have been confirmed in Oregon since February. The virus has claimed the lives of more than 900 Oregonians.

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