On Thursday, June 11, 2020, Governor Kate Brown and the Oregon Health Authority determined that Marion County was not approved to enter Phase 2 of reopening on Friday, June 12. In her letter to the county, Governor Brown noted that it failed to meet two of the six criteria laid out in her guidelines for Phase 2 reopening. The county’s application will be reassessed in one week based off of data gathered in the next seven day period.
In response to Governor Brown’s decision, Commission Chair Colm Willis shared, “We are disappointed in the governor’s decision. The County has worked diligently with our Public Health team to ensure we are prepared for a safe Phase 2 reopening. We will continue this work and are hopeful that our application will be approved as soon as possible.”
Marion County’s roadmap for reopening was developed in collaboration with county health experts, local leaders, and regional public health partners. The county will continue to evaluate the data as it is available and looks forward to entering Phase 2 as soon as possible. County Commissioner Kevin Cameron said, “Of course we want to see the number of cases falling steadily, but that is an unrealistic expectation. As more businesses reopen and people are doing more activities outside their homes, some occasional increases are anticipated. With the increase in testing throughout the county, we can also expect to see an uptick in known cases. We are also working closely with farms and food processing facilities to prevent outbreaks in facilities where physical distancing is often a challenge.”
As the county looks toward Phase 2 of reopening, the health and safety of all Marion County residents is top of mind. This decision comes at a critical time of need as families struggle with unemployment, businesses work hard to recover, and farmers begin their harvests. County Commissioner Sam Brentano stated “I don’t agree with the decision and I think it’s time we explore all our options. “
Marion County remains committed to working with the Governor’s office, the Oregon Health Authority, and local health and community partners to enter Phase 2 of reopening once state officials give their approval.