Community Action to Mitigate COVID-19 Outbreak
For a city that takes public health seriously and responds to medical science with urgency
Thursday, July 16th, 2020
COVID-19 updates and emergency resources can be found online at Oregon Health Authority.
Today I am calling for a renewed stay-at-home order due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. If this order does not come from the state level, the City of Portland should issue a shutdown and direct City bureaus and contractors not to engage in work that is not in compliance.
Local experts looking at objective data and criteria are echoing the World Health Organization (WHO) and Center for Disease Control (CDC) warnings this week that the worst is yet to come. Willamette Week yesterday reported a lack of progress in combating the spread. We are in a similar position to four months ago when Governor Brown issued the first stay-at-home order. Since then, elected officials have not gone far enough to protect our workers, small businesses, and essential employees. The Trump Administration made reopening a higher priority than health and human safety, directing states and cities in turn to reopen, and this mistake has made our country the global leader in COVID deaths. As a consequence, we will not return to normal any time soon. Teachers unions are voting to avoid returning to schools because our schools are not hospitals and our students are not test subjects. Healthcare workers are begging political leadership to take this pandemic seriously because we face a shortage of hospital beds. Small businesses are opening with high risk and low return because many customers remain rightly afraid of spreading or contracting the illness. We need to show respect for the frontlines of this crisis by immediately halting this misguided reopening.
Responsible COVID policy must center scientific evidence and keep people’s basic needs met while they are kept safe, secure, and socially distant.
- We must guarantee income for individuals and keep our small businesses afloat.
- We must enact a residential and commercial rent freeze that includes amnesty on missed payments.
- We must stop sweeps of our unhoused neighbors’ encampments which put officers and the unhoused at greater risk.
- We must ban the use of tear gas and other weapons that impact the respiratory system and can increase spread.
- To fund direct assistance to the unemployed and impacted businesses, we can redirect the waste of the Portland Police Bureau toward social benefit.
Reopening was rightly seen as an unscientific and profit-driven demand when it was made in March. The rapid spread of COVID makes this no less true in July. We cannot continue to allow COVID numbers to rise out of a misguided attempt to improve the stock market. People are dying, particularly people of color in Oregon, and people in rural counties. BIPOC communities experience COVID on top of the public health crisis of systemic racism. I founded a small business that was shuttered due to COVID, so I am acutely aware of the pain this crisis is causing our entrepreneurs. But I ask: how many of our employees are we willing to sacrifice so that we can go about business as usual? We can rebuild once the virus is contained, and with the support of a state and local government that recognize the danger in premature reopening. We can never replace even a single human life lost because we took our focus away from preserving health.
I understand that this may be an unpopular demand, and that many of us are experiencing hardship. But I believe in Portland’s resilience. Individual economic security must never come at the expense of another’s life. Reopening while the outbreak is at its worst levels to date is a deadly mistake, no matter what science-denying business interests and politicians think.
I am directing my campaign to resume our initial COVID response protocols. Thousands of you have reached out to donate, hundreds more want to volunteer. We have an organizing team ready to help meet critical demands, and encourage mutual aid networks and resource pools like the Oregon Workers Relief Fund to renew our focus on helping our neighbors in need. We are ensuring this campaign leads to smarter policy, grounded in reality, and not just the desires of big businesses to return to normal.
Sarah reconoce que una política rigurosa en toda la ciudad de distanciamiento social combinada con la cuarentena autoimpuesta de los enfermos de Portland tiene costos a corto plazo, pero los ahorros a largo plazo valdrán la pena. Si fuera alcalde en este momento crítico, Sarah se concentraría en garantizar que la Ciudad de Portland estuviera trabajando de manera efectiva con nuestros vecinos de la región y otros niveles de gobierno, mientras desplegaba el personal y los recursos necesarios para apoyar a nuestros residentes en soluciones innovadoras y ayudarse mutuamente a obtener a través de esto.