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Lawmakers want a review of how Oregon Health Authority handled pandemic

A visualization of the SARS virus. It is a type of coronavirus and displays the coronavirus' signature crownlike appearance under a microscope.
Oregon lawmakers want an independent review of the state's response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Two years into the COVID-19 pandemic, lawmakers want a review of how the Oregon Health Authority handled it.

The Oregon Health Authority has been in the thick of the battle against the coronavirus in Oregon. But with case counts on the decline, and mandates set to be rolled back soon, some lawmakers think it’s a good time for a thorough look back at how the agency did.

Lawmakers approved a $900,000 study of the pandemic response.

Rep. Cedric Hayden, R-Fall Creek, said one of the most important parts of Senate Bill 1554 is the requirement for a third-party to lead the review.

“We know in a lot of agencies, when they police themselves, we may not get an unbiased opinion," said Hayden. "That’s why it’s important that it comes out of their hands.”

An initial report would be due by this November, with a final evaluation by September, 2023. The bill passed both chambers and is on its way to the governor’s desk.

Chris Lehman has been reporting on Oregon issues since 2006. He joined the KLCC news department in December 2018 and became News Director in March 2023. Chris was born and raised in Pennsylvania, and graduated from Temple University with a degree in journalism. His public broadcasting career includes stops in Louisiana and Illinois. Chris has filed for national programs including “Morning Edition” and “All Things Considered.”
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