Governor Brown orders that Oregon local governments work to continue public comment during COVID-19 shutdown

A new executive order from Governor Kate Brown directs government agencies to 'preserve civic engagement' through remote or other socially distant means.

Posted: Apr 16, 2020 10:25 AM
Updated: Apr 16, 2020 6:21 PM

PORTLAND, Ore. — A new executive order issued by Governor Kate Brown directs local governments and state agencies to do whatever they can to keep the public involved in decision-making, in spite of current statewide social distancing measures.

The order mandates that agencies "take necessary measures to facilitate public participation in decision-making, helping ensure the continued operation of local government and the delivery of essential services during the COVID-19 outbreak."

“Public participation in government decision-making is fundamental to our representative form of government,” said Governor Kate Brown. “While the COVID-19 crisis has changed the way we live, work, and operate, we still must ensure that every voice is heard by elected officials and other policymakers and that the critical functions of local government can continue unimpeded.”

The Governor's office underlined that many local governments will begin drawing up budgets this month, and the order will give them the "authority and flexibility" to keep the public engaged in order to approve spending on essential services.

Governments throughout Oregon are directed to hold public meetings and hearings by telephone, online, or through in-person meetings with "appropriate social distancing measures." It also waives any requirements for in-person public testimony if it can be made by any other means.

Cities, counties, school districts, and other special districts are authorized to hold budget hearings — getting public participation through remote means in order to complete budgets on time. The Governor's office cited police, fire, emergency response, street maintenance, water and sewer access, and building permits as essential services that need to be budgeted for.

"All government entities are still expected to ensure their processes provide equal access to all Oregonians, and that their processes for virtual public participation do not impact accessibility," the Governor's office said.

Oregon Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 190804

Reported Deaths: 2528
CountyCasesDeaths
Multnomah37830583
Washington25279229
Marion21739306
Clackamas17107209
Lane12799145
Jackson10716135
Deschutes866973
Umatilla814084
Linn479867
Yamhill441175
Klamath430861
Polk369952
Malheur349861
Josephine330268
Douglas322070
Benton302619
Jefferson216734
Coos204633
Columbia170526
Union144423
Lincoln137020
Wasco137028
Hood River117930
Morrow110015
Crook106520
Clatsop9738
Baker94614
Curry6459
Tillamook6363
Grant5065
Lake4447
Harney3378
Wallowa1825
Gilliam621
Sherman581
Wheeler281
Unassigned00

California Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 3757115

Reported Deaths: 62280
CountyCasesDeaths
Los Angeles123542224008
Riverside2990644587
San Bernardino2965144697
San Diego2777593725
Orange2707055005
Santa Clara1188512085
Kern1089931373
Sacramento1041761672
Fresno1016251684
Alameda875851545
Ventura808421011
San Joaquin730091391
Contra Costa68503804
Stanislaus619161055
Tulare49554839
Monterey43563382
San Mateo41844568
San Francisco36616543
Santa Barbara34306453
Solano32752249
Merced31743458
Sonoma29975318
Imperial28352721
Kings22965246
Placer22550290
San Luis Obispo21282260
Madera16439242
Santa Cruz16188206
Marin14034228
Yolo13875209
Shasta12071226
Butte11943199
El Dorado10111112
Napa984981
Sutter9411111
Yuba622146
San Benito604863
Lassen569824
Tehama555358
Nevada470775
Tuolumne412364
Mendocino406149
Humboldt393539
Amador365147
Lake346743
Glenn238125
Colusa223016
Siskiyou218123
Calaveras212153
Inyo142638
Del Norte13678
Mono12804
Plumas7066
Modoc4954
Mariposa4457
Trinity3995
Sierra1120
Alpine880
Unassigned330
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