Majority of Oregon counties approved to reopen

Oregon Gov. Kate Brown announced the first “step out onto the ice” in the state’s reopening process, approving 30 counties to loosen restrictions on businesses and public gatherings beginning Friday, May 15.

Meanwhile, Phase One applications for Marion and Polk counties were rejected and Jefferson County are still under review. Metro counties of Multnomah, Clackamas and Washington did not apply to begin reopening.

The population of counties approved for reopening makes up about 45 percent of all Oregon residents. The governor has launched a website to track the reopening phases by county, as well as provide detailed guidelines for businesses.

Counties will be reviewed weekly and if a spike is seen in cases or hospitalizations, the Oregon Health Authority (OHA) will use scientific data to determine if contact tracing and quarantine can control the spike or if the county needs to pause its current phase to contain the spike. This may include additional help from OHA staff as contact tracers.

The goal is to help the county test, trace and isolate without having to pause and reopen.

After three weeks of meeting testing and contact tracing prerequisites without an increase in hospitalizations, counties may apply to enter Phase Two which offers wider leeway on workplace reopening and social gatherings.

“My job is to make hard decisions, even when they are unpopular,” Brown said. “When it comes to the health and safety of Oregonians, the buck stops here.”

Counties that had their proposals denied will have a chance to resubmit next week, while the counties still under review may still receive approval this week.

Watch the full press conference here.

Counties approved for Phase 1:
  • Baker
  • Benton
  • Clatsop
  • Columbia
  • Coos
  • Crook
  • Curry
  • Deschutes
  • Douglas
  • Gilliam
  • Grant
  • Harney
  • Hood River
  • Jackson
  • Josephine
  • Klamath
  • Lake
  • Lane
  • Lincoln
  • Linn
  • Malheur
  • Morrow
  • Sherman
  • Tillamook
  • Umatilla
  • Union
  • Wallowa
  • Wasco
  • Wheeler
  • Yamhill
Counties still under review:
  • Jefferson
Counties denied reopening:
  • Marion
  • Polk
Counties that didn’t apply:
  • Multnomah
  • Clackamas
  • Washington