County chairs, Metro join mayors’ call for ‘Stay home’ order


Frustration hit a breaking point Saturday when tourists swarmed many coastal cities

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — A day after regional mayors demanded the state do a better job of enforcing the newly-implemented “Stay Home, Stay Healthy,” Portland Metro and the chairs of the three most populous counties in Oregon issued a letter of their own Sunday to Governor Kate Brown with the same sentiment.

“We are writing to ask for a legally enforceable ‘Stay Home, Stay Healthy’ order that will help to slow the spread of COVID-19,” the letter states. “Even though the majority of Oregonians are staying home and staying apart, it is evident that many people are not observing the pleas from our leaders to hunker down.

Wheeler to Brown: Issue statewide stay-at-home order

Along with Metro Council President Lynn Peterson, Councilors Shirley Craddick (District 1), Christine Lewis (District 2), Juan Carlos Gonzalez (District 4), Sam Chase (District 5) and Bob Stacey (District 6) signed the letter.

“While I was in Safeway getting stuff for my mom, people would not stand six feet apart from each other. There’s been reports from all over of lines, people standing shoulder to shoulder,” said Peterson. “So, while most of us are doing what we’ve been asked to do, it appears that not enough of us are taking that seriously.”

Continuing Coverage: the Coronavirus

“The purpose of the letter was really to remind the governor that we are not seeing results on the ground,” said Peterson.

Frustration hit a breaking point Saturday when tourists swarmed many coastal cities, ignoring both federal and regional social distancing recommendations. The City of Warrenton declared a state of emergency and passed a resolution to evict tourists. The City of Seaside enacted a state of emergency as well.

People play on the beach in Seaside during the coronavirus pandemic, March 19, 2020. (KOIN)

The Metro letter mirrors the reaction mayors from the Portland metro area had about the widespread disregard for social distancing. On Saturday, 25 mayors gathered on a conference call morning to discuss the COVID-19 outbreak. During that call, an “overwhelming majority” agreed that a statewide “Stay at Home” order was needed. They further implored Brown to take immediate action in order to “help protect Oregonians from the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic.” The letter also included five specific guidelines that regional mayors agreed should be in the “Stay at Home” order.

Read: Full letter from Portland Metro

‘The time to act is now’

Also on Sunday, the chairs for Clackamas, Washington and Multnomah counties also called on Gov. Brown to issue a stay-at-home order, echoing the call 25 Oregon mayors made Saturday.

“As the Chairs of the most populous region in the state, we are preparing to be hit hardest. But here’s what we know: our public health officials, as well as our hospital systems, are telling us that the time to act is now,” the letter written by Jim Bernard, Kathryn Harrington and Deborah Kafoury said.

Nearly half of Oregon’s population lives in these three counties.

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