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Oregon Governor Wants Residents to Report Neighbors Who Violate Lockdown Orders

AP Photo/Gillian Flaccus, File

Oregon Gov. Kate Brown ordered residents of her state to begin another strict lockdown last week over concerns about rising cases of the Wuhan coronavirus.

“The situation is dire, and requires an urgent, immediate, and decisive response to quell the current surge in COVID-19 infections, before it is too late,” the order reads.

The new order puts a six-person cap on in-home gatherings and individuals can be from no more than two households. These rules apply to Thanksgiving, too.

“Look, this is no different than what happens if there’s a party down the street and it’s keeping everyone awake. What do neighbors do? They call law enforcement because it’s too noisy,” the Democrat told KGW-TV on Friday. “This is just like that. It’s like a violation of a noise ordinance.”

House Republicans in the state denounced the new order, expressing concern about the violation “of our privacy as the state police and local law enforcement agencies are being ordered to investigate and criminally charge Oregonians based on the number of people they invite into their homes … we cannot and will not support any attempt by any police agency to violate the sacred space of any Oregonian’s home.”

State leaders prefer that police are not called over violations but want them reported to officials nonetheless.

They want Oregonians to call Oregon Occupational Safety and Health Administration if they see a business violating the rules — not 911. And Portland Police stressed that people who spot their neighbors having overly large parties should call the non-emergency dispatch line, rather than treating the violation as an emergency. (Oregon Public Broadcasting)

Law enforcement in the state acknowledged that enforcement would only happen as a last resort. But residents found guilty could face misdemeanor penalties of up to 30 days in jail, fines up to $1,250, or both, the executive order states.

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