OSPIRG supports Governor Brown’s “pause” on Reopening, as COVID-19 cases surge in many areas of Oregon

Media Contacts
Numi Lee Griffith


PORTLAND – On June 11, 2020, Governor Kate Brown announced a one week pause in the state’s reopening plans.  This effectively means that Multnomah County, Oregon’s most populous county, will not be approved for its target “Phase I” reopening date of June 12.  Multnomah County is both the last county to apply for Phase I, and the only Oregon county that remains under “baseline” social distancing protocols.  

The Oregon Health Authority is tracking six public health metrics to measure progres containing COVID-19.  The most recently released data, using information from up to June 7, shows Multnomah County is currently failing three of six health benchmarks due to rising hospitalizations and a large number of infections that cannot be traced to a known source.  If data through today were included, the County would be failing four of six benchmarks, as new infections reported have risen over the last week.

OSPIRG Health Care Advocate Numi Lee Griffith issued the following statement following Governor Brown’s announcement:

“We spoke out early in support of Gov. Brown’s ‘Building a Safe and Strong Oregon’ framework because it’s a careful plan built on solid epidemiological evidence.  This Wednesday, we called on the state to pause reopening following recent infection trends until the extent of the outbreak could be assessed.  We’re glad that Gov. Brown has chosen to stick with her original plan, and pump the brakes as we see warning signs emerge.

Recent experience from other states has shown that reopening too quickly can lead to a second wave of infections.  We’ve avoided a significant outbreak so far, but only because the state took early and aggressive steps to slow the spread of SARS-Cov-2. Reopening Oregon safely is possible – but we must stick with our plan and stand by the science that supports it”