County fails to meet state’s already lax criteria, gets turned down. Not a great look for the commissioners.

Marion County (and Polk County, too) won’t be re-opening on Friday despite the efforts of county commissioners. Next review by the Oregon Health Authority—not exactly who I’d want judging things—for re-opening will happen Wednesday. In fact, an OHA review of counties will be happening every Wednesday, so expect a yo-yoing reopening-lockdown cycle to be coming soon to a theater near you.

[Marion County Commissioner Kevin] Cameron said the governor’s office would be releasing additional guidance Thursday about what metrics the county needs to reach before opening certain businesses back up. Cameron also said the county would get further guidance about which retail businesses will be allowed to open Friday, May 15. 

Governor denies Marion and Polk counties plans to reopen Friday, Salem Reporter, 14 May 2020.

It is unclear what additional guidance is actually needed since Marion County didn’t meet the initial criteria laid out by the state in the first place. We have no business reopening bars, gyms, barber shops and the like. That the right-leaning commissioners applied to reopen anyway is something of an indictment.

“That’s the decision the governor’s made,” Marion County Commissioner Colm Willis said. “Well, my heart just goes out to the family-owned businesses and the salons and the folks who haven’t had a paycheck for two months. I feel for the families in Marion County.”

Marion and Polk counties denied Friday reopening by governor, Statesman Journal, 14 May 2020.

Yeah, well, I feel for the families of those who are dying of COVID-19. I feel for those of us who would rather not be infected. I feel for the majority of citizens (polls are running 80-20) who would rather stay safe than reopen too soon and throw away everything we’ve sacrificed. I’m pro-business—I’ve got one myself—but I’m not anti-public health, and if I have to choose I’m going to go with public health. And I guess I’m a little appalled by those who are on the other side of this.

In addition to Glamour Salon and Tan Republic (same owner), Kuebler’s Furniture has joined the list. (Yes, I’m keeping a list.) They’ve added themselves to the federal lawsuit arguing that the governor lacks the legal authority to impose a lockdown.

I doubt that’s the case, but where the lawsuit really runs off the rails is in the rationale:

The complaint challenges the rationale that the governor’s orders were needed to prevent overwhelming medical facilities with the goal of “flattening the curve.” COVID-19 infection rates in Oregon have been declining, which state officials point to as evidence that the orders are working. 

“But there is no scientific evidence associating particular measures with particular reductions in the spread of the disease,” the complaint said. 

Salem furniture store joins federal lawsuit aimed at governor’s orders, Salem Reporter, 13 May 2020.

Uh…what? There is worldwide evidence that locking down arrests the spread of the virus.

Brown extended her initial emergency order to July 6. The complaint alleges the decision by the Democratic governor is “to benefit the electoral prospects of the Governor’s political party in the upcoming presidential election, and to advance that party’s ideology of larger government programs, spending and control over Americans.”

Buchal said that the complaint isn’t meant to be political and is instead focused on protecting constitutional rights. He said it only becomes political when there’s disagreement over how those rights should be recognized.

Salem furniture store joins federal lawsuit aimed at governor’s orders, Salem Reporter, 13 May 2020.

I gotta say, the complaint seems a little political. And I have no idea what it’s accusing Democrat governor Katie Brown of in the face of the federal government’s massive spending spree.

As I say, perhaps there is some legal merit to the complaint. I don’t know. But since the rationale is nuts, the most helpful thing about it is that it clarifies exactly who’s on the side of public health and who’s not.

I, for one, will remember.

Late in the day update from Oregon Gov. Kate Brown’s office:

Oregon Gov. Kate Brown announced late Wednesday that retail stores that were closed due to her stay-home order may reopen starting Friday, as long as they meet social distancing and other safety standards. Stores can welcome customers whether or not their counties receive approval for the gradual Phase 1 reopening.

Coronavirus in Oregon: Retail stores statewide can reopen with new safety standards. Malls must wait for approval, OregonLive, 14 May 2020.

I’m gonna have to rescind all the nice things I was saying about Governor Brown. What is the point of having a lockdown and criteria for ending said lockdown if we’re going to open up all retail stores regardless of whether a county meets the reopening criteria?

I’m not following the governor’s logic, assuming there is any.