Democrat Oregon Gov. Kate Brown called on her constituents to snitch on their neighbors if they’re found to be defying her new Covid-19 orders.
In a local interview, she reasoned that calling the police for a lockdown violation was comparable to reporting a noise nuisance.
“This is no different than what happens if there’s a party down the street and it’s keeping everyone awake,” she commented on Friday. “What do neighbors do [in that case]? They call law enforcement because it’s too noisy. This is just like that. It’s like a violation of a noise ordinance.”
Last week Brown ordered a two-week freeze on indoor and outdoor gatherings that forbids more than six people from two different households from socializing together statewide. Violators of the mandate can be charged with a Class C misdemeanor and face a up to $1,250 in fines and/or thirty days in jail.
“We are eight months into the pandemic. We all have Covid fatigue. But we must stay vigilant. As the holidays approach, the best way to show our love this season is to rethink how we celebrate. I’m urging all Oregonians to limit their holiday get-togethers and wear a mask!” Brown posted last week.
Critics were quick to attack the stringent new restrictions. Tootie Smith, the elected chairwoman of the Clackamas Board of County Commissioners slammed Brown’s executive order.
“This is a travesty that’s happening in our state,” she told Fox News. “How dare Gov. Brown thinks she’s going to come out, send police into people’s homes and arrest them and fine them for having a Thanksgiving meal with their family.”
“Look, all of this is irresponsible,” Brown retorted. “These are politicians seeking headlines, not public servants, trying to save lives. My top priority as governor is to keep Oregonians healthy and safe. That’s where I’m focused.”
She’s leaning on local authorities to uphold her agenda. “I’ve already directed the superintendent of state police to begin to work with local law enforcement to legally enforce the informal social gathering orders,” Brown said.
But her order hasn’t been well received by the law enforcement community, the Marion County Sheriff’s office released a statement on Friday addressing the freeze. “We recognize that we cannot arrest or enforce our way out of the pandemic, and we believe both are counterproductive to public health goals.”
As Oregon’s Covid cases continue to spike consecutive days in a row, Brown’s messaging remains firm.
“This is about saving lives and it’s about protecting our fellow Oregonians,” she remarked. “We have too many sporadic cases in Oregon. We can’t trace these cases to a particular source. We have to limit gatherings and social interactions.”