Portland, OR – Oregon Governor Kate Brown has instructed residents to call police if they suspect their neighbors have more than six people in their homes, or if they believe they might be violating any of the other restrictions listed in her most recent executive order.
Brown, who said she enacted the “freeze” on Nov. 18 in order to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus, claimed that people tattling on their neighbors for having too many guests over is no different than making a noise complaint, KGW reported.
“This is no different than what happens if there’s a party down the street and it’s keeping everyone awake,” she declared on Friday, according to the news outlet. “What do neighbors do [in that case]? They call law enforcement because it’s too noisy. This is just like that. It’s like a violation of a noise ordinance.”
Brown also banned Oregon residents from going to gyms or eating at restaurants for the next two weeks, among other restrictions.
Multnomah County residents will be subject to the restrictions for twice as long, according to KGW.
Faith-based gatherings of up to 25 people will still be allowed, as will outdoor gatherings of up to 50 people, FOX News reported.
Those who violate Brown’s order could be arrested and held in jail for up to 30 days, and could also face a potential $1,250 fine.
It is unclear why Brown, who has repeatedly defended residents’ right to “peacefully protest” during the near-nightly riots that have devastated downtown Portland for over six months straight, did not enact such measures to shut down those massive gatherings.
Most of the rioters who attacked police and burned and looted the city have had the charges against them dismissed by prosecutors, while those who are found with more than six people in their home could face a month in jail and a hefty fine.
Brown dismissed the concerns of critics who have called her order unconstitutional, and argued that those who question the legality of her directive are “irresponsible,” KGW reported.
“These are politicians seeking headlines, not public servants, trying to save lives,” she declared. “My top priority as governor is to keep Oregonians healthy and safe. That’s where I’m focused.”
Brown said she hopes law enforcement won’t be needed to help deal with alleged violations of her executive order and that residents will choose to abide by the restrictions instead.
“I expect local law enforcement to continue to use an education first approach, but Oregonians need to understand that these rules are enforceable under law,” the governor said, according to KDRV.
The Marion County Sheriff’s Office (MCSO) also released a statement in the wake of Brown’s order, noting that the department “cannot arrest or enforce our way out of the pandemic.”
Oregon Senate Republicans issued a letter last week criticizing “government overreach” and slamming Brown for “destroying Oregon,” KDRV reported.
“Since you welcome leaving thousands more of suffering Oregonians unemployed, Governor, you must lead by example and go without pay for the entire period that Multnomah County is to be shut down based on your arbitrary decisions,” the letter read. “The funds that would normally go to your paycheck should be donated to families in need.”
Brown did not indicate she would forgo a month’s pay, but she did authorize the release of $55 million to help buoy businesses impacted by the restrictions, KDRV reported.
“This is about saving lives and it’s about protecting our fellow Oregonians,” Brown said, according to KGW. “We have too many sporadic cases in Oregon. We can’t trace these cases to a particular source. We have to limit gatherings and social interactions.”