▶️ Downtown dance party gets mixed reaction amid Brown’s call for COVID rules compliance

By BROOKE SNAVELY
CENTRAL OREGON DAILY NEWS

Gov. Kate Brown has warned about the possibility of increasing restrictions statewide to slow the spread of coronavirus and reopen schools.

But a group of party-goers in downtown Bend apparently didn’t get the memo.

On Friday, Brown informed Oregonians the rate of COVID infections is slowing down, but more needs to be done to continue reopening the state, especially schools and in-person learning.

Just a few hours later in downtown Bend, a club-like party happened on the sidewalk on Wall Street near the breezeway about 10:30 at night.

The individual who recorded and sent us the video noted “not many people were wearing masks.”

“Local officials need to get creative about enforcing rules against large social gatherings, big house parties, pool parties and so forth,” Brown said in her news conference last week. “Too many COVID cases this summer have resulted from these informal social get-togethers.”

Monday we visited the spot where the party occurred, showed passersby video of the event and asked what they made of it.

“I think that’s some of the reason we aren’t going back to school because people keep doing stuff like that,” said Lucy Cistillo. “In the moment, it seems fun and exciting and nobody’s going to get COVID. But in the future a lot of them probably will if they keep doing stuff like that.”

“Irresponsible, wreckless, not at all community-minded,” said Kevin Kasche.

But on our Facebook page, the video garnered dozens of supportive comments in addition to those who disagreed with the gathering.

“Freedom!,” wrote Amanda Bailey. “Way to use your rights!”

Jeremey Gresser wrote, it “Looks like people acting like normal human beings…we need more of them.”

“If we cannot improve our trajectory over the rest of the month by increased compliance with already existing policies and guidelines, I will need to add more restrictions,” the governor warned.

No complaints about the street party were filed with Bend Police or the city’s code enforcement department.

Had the police been notified and responded to the scene, Lt. Juli McConkey says officers might have explained the risk and offered masks.

Bend Mayor Sally Russell said she wished people in the video would have helped keep the community safe by wearing masks.

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