GOP Leaders Urge Gov to Decouple Clackamas from Portland Metro

Republican leaders Christine Drazan, state representative from Canby, and Stayton-based Sen. Fred Girod have renewed the call on Governor Kate Brown to decouple Clackamas County from its larger, more densely populated and more Covid-impacted neighbors Multnomah and Washington counties.

Brown made the decision to link the Portland metro area together for future reopening decisions one month ago today, the same day she announced Marion County could enter the second phase of her reopening plan — despite having nearly twice as many Covid cases and deaths as Clackamas.

County commissioners and chamber of commerce leaders have begged the governor to reconsider and allow the three counties to reopen at their own pace, but she has refused.

On Friday, Girod and Drazan — both of whom represent portions of Clackamas County in the state Legislature — renewed the call.

“Rural Clackamas County shouldn’t have to pay the price for the damages caused by violent anarchists in downtown Portland,” Sen. Girod said in the statement. “The actions of the larger tri-county area do not represent the Oregonians in the rural part of the county, and the Governor needs to acknowledge this difference.”

Rep. Drazan agreed, saying she and her counterpart in the state Senate were echoing the plea of the Clackamas County Board of Commissioners.

“Coupling Clackamas County with the two most urban and densely populated counties in Oregon is unwarranted and unnecessarily burdens our local communities and businesses who are already struggling during this economic downturn,” she said.

Clackamas County has seen significantly fewer confirmed cases of Covid-19 than its tri-county neighbors, even when population differences are factored in. As of Friday, Washington’s case count (2,105) is nearly double that of Clackamas (1,097), while Multnomah’s (3,285) is almost three times as high.

However, Clackamas has recorded more Covid-related deaths (30) than Washington’s 21. Multnomah County has had 74 residents die from complications of the novel coronavirus — the most in the state. Marion is second, with 57.

Commissioners received an update on the county’s reopening status this week, with Commissioner Paul Savas being particularly insistent that they continue to push for Clackamas to be decoupled from its Portland metro area neighbors.

Most commissioners were ultimately in no hurry to reapply for phase 2, but this appeared to be based primarily on their belief that the request would fall on deaf ears for the state’s decision-makers.

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