▶️ Jefferson Co. Sheriff calls for local control, reacts to state mask mandate


“Enough of your overreaching mandates!”

“Enough of your bullying threats.”

“Enough of you dictating our state by fear.”

That was the start of a letter sent to Gov. Kate Brown by Union County Sheriff Cody Bowen in response to the latest state mask mandate.

That letter prompted a social media post by Jefferson County Sheriff Marc Heckathorn. 

“I think it is important as an elected official to be able to provide your opinions and beliefs to people that ask,” he said. 

Heckathorn says he doesn’t agree with everything in the letter.

“I don’t think you open a dialog with the governor by attacking her,” he added. “I don’t think you do that with anyone.”

He does agree with having local control.

“I really think the decision should be made on a local basis in either to enact rules or not enact rules and then you have the ability as citizens to directly influence their decisions or remove them if you don’t like the decision they are making in representing you,” Heckathorn added.

His post on the “Marc Heckathorn for Jefferson County Sheriff” Facebook page reads in part: 

“My office will continue to encourage citizens to take steps to protect their own health and safety.

“My deputies will not take law enforcement actions in the enforcement of Governor Brown’s executive orders relating to COVID-19.

“OSHA and the Oregon Department of Health, even the governor have said those are the enforcement branches for her orders,” Heckathorn added.

“Local levels, state police, local county governments, were not enforcing those anyways. We will continue to not enforce those particular rules.”

The sheriff claims COVID statistics in the last six weeks in Jefferson County just don’t support additional mask requirements.

On Monday, the Oregon Health Authority reported 30 new COVID-19 cases in Jefferson County, which included numbers from over the weekend.

“So, based on the data I am looking at,” he said. “To enact a mask mandate right now, with the conditions that are on the ground in Jefferson County right now, I don’t feel her mandate is warranted in Jefferson County at this point.”

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