STREAMING NOW: Watch Now

Oregon coffee company says OSP troopers put them 'in a terrible position' by refusing to wear masks

The owners of an Oregon coffee company are responding after Oregon State Police officers refused a request to wear masks upon entering one of their shops on Wednesday.

Posted: Jul 2, 2020 3:37 PM
Updated: Jul 2, 2020 4:27 PM

CORVALLIS, Ore. — The owners of an Oregon coffee company are responding after Oregon State Police officers refused a request to wear masks after entering one of their shops on Wednesday — an incident that has since been condemned by both Governor Kate Brown and OSP Superintendent Travis Hampton.

The incident was first reported by the Oregonian/OregonLive on Thursday morning after interviewing workers at Allan's Coffee and Tea in Corvallis.

Governor Brown's statewide mandate for use of face coverings in indoor public spaces went into effect on Wednesday. Businesses are largely responsible for enforcing the requirement, under penalty from OSHA for failing to comply.

According to a statement from Allan's owners Robert and Kathryn Morgan, they were prepared to follow the new mandate and had filled employees in on the policy, including signs hung in their locations asking patrons to use face coverings.

"We were aware of the divisive climate during this time and the fact that face coverings have become a politicized issue so we expected that our employees may receive some backlash from customers regarding this new policy," the Morgans said. "We were fully prepared to support our employees. However, we did not expect that within the first hour of the state mandate four uniformed State Police Officers would defy the orders, enter our café without wearing a face mask and refuse requests to wear one."

The Morgans said that one of the officers "used profanity to disparage the Governor," claiming that she could not infringe on his civil liberties. The officer reportedly told employees that they didn't have to worry about complying with the order, because police would not be enforcing it.

After the officer ordered, the Morgans said that at least one other customer stated that they shouldn't have to wear face coverings either.

"The four Oregon State Police Officers put our small business in a terrible position yesterday by openly defying the orders which we as a business are responsible for upholding," the Morgans said.

The Allan's owners said that they fully support the law enforcement community and do not see face coverings as a political or divisive issue. They decided to go public with the incident after Oregon State Police initially seemed to have taken the issue "too lightly."

On Thursday, OSP chief Travis Hampton put out a statement on social media, calling the officers' conduct "embarrassing and indefensible."

"Let me be clear, Oregon State Police Troopers are not above the law and this conduct is being immediately addressed," Hampton said. "As the leader of the Oregon State Police, I would like to offer my apology to the coffee shop employees and the community."

Governor Brown followed up with a statement of her own a few hours later, echoing Hampton's sentiments and saying that they both expect OSP officers to lead by example.

"This virus threatens us all, regardless of our job title. Oregonians are wearing face coverings to protect ourselves, our families and our community," Brown said. "If you want your favorite restaurants and shops to stay open, wear a face covering and practice physical distancing to reduce the spread of the disease."

The Oregonian reported that one of the officers had been placed on administrative leave and the incident is under investigation, according to an OSP spokesman.

"We are saddened that the issue of face coverings has seemed to further divide a community and a state that is already divided and that the backlash from this issue will ultimately fall on the backs of small businesses," the Morgans said. "We hope that Oregon can peacefully comply with the Governor’s mandate and work towards getting our state back to where it was."

Oregon Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 133851

Reported Deaths: 1803
CountyCasesDeaths
Multnomah28467459
Washington18734171
Marion16247239
Clackamas11698138
Lane8353109
Jackson693085
Umatilla679368
Deschutes499936
Yamhill319045
Malheur313552
Linn311646
Polk245540
Klamath242838
Josephine174333
Benton170514
Jefferson170525
Douglas168743
Union111416
Wasco108123
Columbia104918
Lincoln99617
Hood River95421
Coos93815
Morrow93810
Clatsop6865
Crook62110
Baker5685
Tillamook3652
Curry3245
Lake2305
Grant2131
Harney1754
Wallowa963
Gilliam511
Sherman470
Wheeler201
Unassigned00

California Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 3015644

Reported Deaths: 33724
CountyCasesDeaths
Los Angeles102419013936
San Bernardino2540941560
Riverside2422062517
Orange2123892367
San Diego2117872103
Santa Clara935571076
Kern85362565
Fresno82039932
Sacramento801541080
Alameda67375764
Ventura61257412
San Joaquin57094748
Contra Costa52146449
Stanislaus42548749
Tulare41016501
Monterey35418250
San Mateo32186294
San Francisco29139262
Imperial25253463
Solano25216105
Santa Barbara24481231
Sonoma23871240
Merced23800296
Kings19254133
Placer17194173
San Luis Obispo15658128
Madera13328130
Santa Cruz12196113
Marin11569154
Yolo10519131
Shasta9594117
Butte9411121
El Dorado765944
Sutter760477
Napa752139
Lassen509413
San Benito494143
Yuba481827
Tehama397142
Tuolumne330438
Nevada317673
Mendocino311432
Amador300129
Lake257228
Humboldt232224
Glenn192419
Colusa16919
Calaveras160823
Siskiyou140813
Mono10914
Inyo92429
Del Norte8572
Plumas5735
Modoc3793
Mariposa3464
Trinity3024
Alpine730
Sierra700
Unassigned00
Medford
Clear
57° wxIcon
Hi: 54° Lo: 31°
Feels Like: 57°
Brookings
Clear
60° wxIcon
Hi: 58° Lo: 39°
Feels Like: 60°
Medford
Clear
57° wxIcon
Hi: 34° Lo: 15°
Feels Like: 57°
Medford
Partly Cloudy
57° wxIcon
Hi: 57° Lo: 29°
Feels Like: 57°
Klamath Falls
Clear
41° wxIcon
Hi: 42° Lo: 25°
Feels Like: 34°
Clear and cold tonight
KDRV Radar
KDRV Fire Danger
KDRV Weather Cam

Community Events