By HANNAH SIEVERT
CENTRAL OREGON DAILY NEWS
Lake County Commissioner Mark Albertson last week sent out an email to a variety of Oregon leaders and invited them to talk about drawing up “battle plans.”
“It’s time to rise up and do the job that the helpless and fearful can’t do,” Albertson wrote.
Thursday, Deschutes County Commissioner Tony DeBone and about a dozen other Oregon officials attended a meeting organized by Albertson in Prairie City.
At the meeting, several leaders discussed frustrations about Gov. Kate Brown’s continued closure of rural counties, although many of them are seeing less COVID-19 cases than urban counties. DeBone agrees with some of those concerns.
“The Governor’s office, emergency orders — that was where we needed to start,” DeBone said. “But if we could transition away from one blanket order, because it is different. We have counties that have 7,000 residents and the counties are the size of a couple states put together, and we have Washington and Multnomah County where there is a lot of population density. With the diversity in the state, maybe we could have a bit more local authority.”
DeBone maintains the meeting was public and not meant to be secretive, although no notice of a public meeting was issued to the public or the media beforehand.
DeBone said although meeting organizers were passionate, the meeting was less of a rally cry against Gov. Brown and more of a conversation about how to move forward.
The group plans to send a list of suggestions from the meeting to Gov. Brown, DeBone said.
“If this goes on for a year or two, that’s when you need to start talking about, are we just going to give up our economy?” DeBone said. “We don’t have all the money in the world to pay everybody to just sit around all the time.”