Oregon Has More Than 3,200 Confirmed Coronavirus Cases
UPDATE (7:36 p.m. PT) — Oregon state and local officials confirmed 61 new coronavirus cases Tuesday, bringing the state’s total to 3,283 known cases.
Monday the Oregon Health Authority reported 3,286 coronavirus cases, but that number included presumptive cases — people who have not tested positive but have coronavirus symptoms and have had close contact with someone confirmed to be infected with the virus.
Health officials Tuesday reported 11 new presumptive cases.
Officials did not report any new coronavirus-related deaths Tuesday. In Oregon, 130 people are known to have died with COVID-19.
Washington has more than 17,000 confirmed cases
In Southwest Washington, Clark County Public Health announced seven new confirmed cases of coronavirus Tuesday, bringing the county’s total number of known cases to 393.
No additional deaths were reported Tuesday. In total, 24 people are known to have died of COVID-19 in Clark County.
The Washington Department of Health reports 17,330 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 962 related deaths, according to the most recent data.
All but 4 Oregon counties apply to partially reopen
All but four Oregon counties have now applied to reopen some businesses under Gov. Kate Brown’s framework, unveiled on Thursday. The four that have not applied are Washington, Multnomah, Clackamas and Lincoln counties. The other 32 have a tag saying “Under Review,” meaning, according to the state's COVID-19 information website, the Oregon Health Authority is determining whether they meet the criteria for loosening restrictions.
Restaurants, bars, gyms and salons in approved counties could open as early as May 15. Residents of those counties could gather in groups of up to 25 without facing potential consequences.
City Club of Portland lays off staff
City Club of Portland announced Monday evening that it is laying off staff due to a loss of revenue amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
City Club said its board of governors determined “that reducing our personnel expenses by 90% starting in June was the only way for City Club to stay solvent and continue delivering on its mission.”
City Club said affected staff includes its executive director, program strategist and marketing and communications director.
The nonprofit hosts weekly forums, political debates and other events throughout the year.
It said it is postponing its City Feast gala that was scheduled for later this week.
“We look forward to coming together as a community at a later date — whether in person or virtually — to celebrate City Club’s enduring mission and hopeful civic spirit,” City Club said in a statement.
Oregon signature events make plans for summer gatherings
The Pendleton Round-Up will go ahead as planned in September. Its organizers said they're taking steps to make sure the event remains safe amid the coronavirus outbreak.
Pickathon went in the opposite direction, announcing Monday that its planned long July weekend of music and arts in Happy Valley, Oregon, is canceled for 2020.
The event annually draws thousands of campers to a hillside in Clackamas County. Organizers say that can't happen safely, citing the latest guidance from the governor’s office.
The Malheur County Fair Board voted Monday to cancel its annual August event, according to the Malheur Enterprise.
The Enterprise reports the fair has gone on for the last 111 years and was even held during World War I and World War II.
“We have to hold every penny we have so we can have the fair next year,” Lynelle Christiani, fairgrounds manager, told the Enterprise.
Oregon traffic increases amid coronavirus pandemic
Although vehicle traffic statewide is lighter than it was the same time last year, according to data from the Oregon Department of Transportation, over the past month traffic volume has begun increasing.
ODOT has been tracking traffic volume along the state’s highway corridors. During the first week of Oregon Gov. Kate Brown’s stay-at-home order, the state saw an average of 220,814 vehicles on highways during weekdays.
The week after also saw a drop in traffic volume. But, the weeks since then have shown traffic slowly building back up.
For the week of April 27 to May 3, the most recent week of full data available from ODOT, the average was more than 259,000 vehicles during weekdays.
“For the month of April, traffic began with 43% lower weekday volumes than 2019,” ODOT’s report states. “By the end of April, the difference changed to 29% below 2019 weekday volumes.”
West Coast political leaders call on Congress for more aid
Top Democrats in Oregon have joined leaders in four other Western states to request Congress funnel an additional $1 trillion to state and local governments affected by the coronavirus pandemic.
In a letter to Congressional leaders Monday, the governors and top lawmakers of Oregon, Washington, California, Nevada and Colorado state that trillions of dollars in existing federal aid will not sufficiently protect their economies.
The letter said services that might face cuts as states work to battle the health crisis include: education, police departments and firefighters. “And, without additional assistance, the very programs that will help people get back to work – like job training and help for small business owners – will be forced up on the chopping block,” the letter reads.
The document was signed by Oregon Gov. Kate Brown, House Speaker Tina Kotek, and Senate President Peter Courtney, along with equivalent officials in the other states.
2 Southwest Washington counties approved to start reopening
The Washington Department of Health announced Monday that Skamania and Wahkiakum counties are approved to enter the second phase of the state’s four-phase reopening plan.
That means in-person shopping, salons and restaurants may open this week, with limitations.
Both counties meet the state’s criteria: They have fewer than 75,000 residents and haven’t had any positive coronavirus cases in at least three weeks.
Skamania County, home to roughly 12,000 people, is the closest county to the Portland metro area among those approved to reopen. It’s located at the entrance of the Columbia River Gorge and is home to popular hiking trails, many of which remain closed.
The Oregon Parks and Recreation Department has now reopened at least 45 state parks with limited day-use access as of Monday.
More parks will continue to reopen in the coming weeks if they meet the department’s requirements of community readiness and staff readiness.
Smith Rock, the popular state park and rock-climbing destination in Central Oregon, is scheduled to reopen Thursday.
Other popular areas like the Columbia River Gorge and the North Coast will take longer to reopen as people continue to adjust to social distancing guidelines when visiting parks, Chris Havel with the department said.
Portland pools, community centers will be closed all summer
Portland’s parks bureau announced Tuesday the city’s public pools and community centers will remain shut for the duration of the summer and camps will be canceled.
Parks bureau officials cited the continuing effects of the coronavirus and their inability to have the staff in place in time as the reason for the decision. Last month, the bureau announced it would lay off more than 900 part-time employees as it operated without the usual fees from activities and the use of facilities.
“These actions have helped protect public health but have also impacted revenues that fund bureau operations,” said bureau director Adena Long in a statement announcing the closures. “We have had to layoff or not hire hundreds of valued seasonal employees — your exercise instructors, swim teachers, camp counselors, and many other important PP&R team members.”
The bureau has also canceled much of its summer programming. That includes summer camps, Summer Free For All and the Portland World Soccer Tournament.
Certain parks programming, however, will still be here this summer. As always, the city will operate its Lunch + Play program, which provides food for families throughout summer break.
Local parks and trails will also remain open with "park greeters" deployed to encourage park goers to social distance.
Copyright 2020 Oregon Public Broadcasting