A crowd of about 150 people assembled in front of Redmond City hall Friday night to protest Gov. Kate Brown’s ‘Stay Home, Save Lives’ executive order.
Redmond resident BJ Soper organized the “Town Hall Meeting.” Business owners and residents began voicing their frustrations with the executive order at an open mic at 5:30 p.m.
Some protesters said they felt the restrictions are too severe for counties with few COVID-19 cases.
“We have had minimal cases, and if we need to isolate the Portland area because it’s a hotspot, great, but let us get back to work,” Tom Waters, a protester, said. “There’s counties here in the eastern part of the state that haven’t had a single case, but we still have all the restrictions.”
Other protestors said the order was against Oregonian’s constitutional right to worship and right to freedom of assembly.
“A lot of the actions of the government have been in direct violation of the constitution, both federal and state,” Waters said. “The sooner that they get us back to work and get us back to our normal lives, the better it’s going to be.”
As the statements wrapped up at 7 p.m., Soper called for the crowd to gather in protest next Friday at the same time and at the same location.
Earlier in the day, Deschutes County District Attorney John Hummel said law enforcement would monitor the situation and only intervene if they feel it’s necessary to protect the public.
“What they’re all doing is disrespectful to everyone in this community who is following the law,” Hummel said “It’s disrespectful to first responders and medical professionals. It puts us all at risk.”
A few protest observers said they disagreed with the crowd’s decision to gather.
“I understand both sides, that a lot of people are frustrated with businesses being closed,” Trever Johnson, a Redmond resident, said. “But at the same time forming a gathering to disobey orders puts our health care at risk, our front line responders at risk.”
Protesters have gathered in several states this week to voice their opposition to stay-at-home orders. Michigan, Ohio, Kentucky, Minnesota, North Carolina and Utah have all seen protests in the past few days, as people grow more concerned about the economic repercussions of the COVID-19 pandemic.