SALEM, Ore. — Following the close of a second 2020 Special Session, Governor Brown held a press briefing to address what was accomplished and what could come next, which could include expanding face covering requirements for office workers and closing two state prisons.
When asked about a mask mandate for in-office work, Governor Brown said that her Deputy Chief of Staff, Gina Zejdlik, was working on the new proposal that would likely surface "in the next week or so."
"As you can imagine, given the different types of office environments, it's extremely challenging," Brown said. "My team is working very closely with the Oregon Health Authority and other medical experts to make sure that we do this in what I would consider a common-sense way, and also ensure that staff and employees working in office buildings are protected."
In initial budget proposals, both Shutter Creek Correctional Institution in North Bend and Warner Creek Correctional Facility in Lakeview were placed on the chopping block — a proposal that has seen organized resistance from officials in Lake County. However, when the session ended late Monday night with a rebalanced budget, the prisons were not slated for closure.
Brown said she had worked with the state Department of Corrections to identify the two facilities for closure because they existed in "more challenging conditions." The Governor wanted to see them closed so that the funds used for upkeep and staffing could be rerouted elsewhere as the state faces a looming plunge in revenue.
Although the legislature spared both prisons, Brown indicated on Tuesday that they could be closed through an executive order in the near future.
"We're exploring all options available to me, in terms of my executive authority, and I expect to be taking action over the next several weeks," Brown said.