Last week, Oregon Governor Kate Brown (D-Portland) ordered a new set of lockdowns in an attempt to slow the spread of COVID-19, the virus unleashed upon the world by the Chinese Communist Party. Restrictions include no more than six people in one’s home (covering Thanksgiving gatherings), restrictions on capacity in retail stores, the closure of gyms and indoor activities, and restaurants restricted to take-out only. Brown also announced she will coordinate with Oregon State Police and local law enforcement to charge violators with a misdemeanor, subjecting them to possible jail time and/or fines. One Oregon County has announced that it will not participate in criminal enforcement of Brown’s lockdown orders.
Linn County is located in the central Willamette Valley in Oregon, a little south of Salem. In a post on Facebook, the Linn County Sheriff’s Office, along with the Linn County DA, noted many businesses there are hanging on by a thread, their role is not to count how many individuals are at a private residence, and they will not interfere with any religious organization. “We understand the realities of Covid-19,” they said, “but we draw the line when we are dealing with decisions relating to individual residences, religion, or businesses.”
“We are going to continue to educate citizens, as needed,” they said, “and that is where we will stop. We trust citizens to assess risk and take precautions as appropriate given their individual circumstances. We are not going to criminally enforce the COVID-19 restrictions contained in the Governor’s order.”
The full statement reads:
Before this year, we would have never imagined having to wear a mask and avoiding close contact when others are around. We have experienced COVID-19 restrictions for quite some time now. There are many businesses in our community holding on by a thread. People are struggling because they feel cut off and alone.
We understand the realities of Covid-19, but we draw the line when we are dealing with decisions relating to individual residences, religion, or businesses.
The Linn County Sheriff’s Office decided back in April that we would not do criminal enforcement on COVID-19 measures. Our role in the community is not to count how many people are at a residence or how an individual business conducts its affairs. We definitely do not interfere with religious organizations. We are going to continue to educate citizens, as needed, and that is where we will stop. We trust citizens to assess risk and take precautions as appropriate given their individual circumstances. We are not going to criminally enforce the COVID-19 restrictions contained in the Governor’s order.
Doug Marteeny, Linn County District Attorney
Jim Yon, Linn County Sheriff
The post has gone … er … viral, with over 7,000 likes, 1,400 comments, and 5,200 shares in a little less than 24 hours. The overwhelming tenor of the comments was gratitude for standing up for the constitutional rights of the citizens.
UPDATE: The sheriffs of Crook and Klamath Counties in Oregon, and the Redding Police Department in California, issued similar statements. The Klamath County statement said:
“The Board of Klamath County Commissioners and the Klamath County Sheriff voice concerns over new state COVID-19 regulations and the 2-week ‘freeze’ stating it will be too much for already struggling businesses to bear.
“This statewide approach does not fit Klamath County,” said Commissioner Kelley Minty Morris. “We have a robust health care system, and we are confident the relationships in this community would ensure our health care professionals, and public health, would work together to decide what our community needs without the state’s interference. We do not need a top-down approach from the State; we believe we can navigate this challenging issue locally.”
“Citizens have spoken clearly, this is causing impacts that cannot be ignored, increases in suicide, domestic violence, and substance abuse, these are real consequences of shutdowns,” said Commissioner Donnie Boyd.
“We have a real fear business that close may never re-open, it’s already been the case for more than 2 dozen businesses in this county. Another shut down could increase the number of unemployed right before the holidays” said Commissioner Derrick DeGroot.
“The Sheriff’s Office will not be enforcing distancing, gathering, or masking restrictions. I have informed the local paper and that decision has been shared on other media platforms,” said Sheriff Chris Kaber. “It is the decision I made in the spring and remains consistent even though the governor indicated she is enlisting local law enforcement this time. The Sheriff’s Office is busy responding to calls for service of greater public safety concern.”
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Jeff Reynolds is the author of the book, “Behind the Curtain: Inside the Network of Progressive Billionaires and Their Campaign to Undermine Democracy,” available at www.WhoOwnsTheDems.com. Jeff hosts a podcast at anchor.fm/BehindTheCurtain. You can follow him on Twitter @ChargerJeff, and on Parler at @RealJeffReynolds.