EXECUTIVE ORDER 20-16
KEEP GOVERNMENT WORKING: ORDERING NECESSARY MEASURES TO ENSURE SAFE PUBLIC MEETINGS AND CONTINUED OPERATIONS BY LOCAL GOVERNMENTS DURING CORONAVIRUS (COVID-19) OUTBREAK
On February 28, 2020, I appointed the State of Oregon's Coronavirus Response Team.
On February 29, 2020, the Department of Human Services issued strict guidelines, restricting visitation at congregated care facilities, including nursing homes.
On March 2, 2020, the State of Oregon Emergency Coordination Center was activated.
On March 8, 2020, I declared an emergency under ORS 401.165 et seq. due to the public health threat posed by the novel infectious coronavirus (COVID-19).
On March 12, 2020, I prohibited gatherings of 250 or more people, and announced a statewide closure of Oregon K-12 schools from March 16, 2020, through March 31, 2020.
On March 13, 2020, the President of the United States declared the COVID-19 outbreak a national emergency.
On March 17, 2020, I prohibited gatherings of 25 or more people, banned on-site consumption of food and drink at food establishments statewide, and extended school closures until April 28, 2020. I also encouraged all businesses not subject to the prohibitions to implement social distancing protocols.
On March 18, 2020, I suspended in-person instructional activities at higher education institutions through April 28, 2020.
On March 22, 2020, I imposed a temporary moratorium on residential evictions for nonpayment, prohibiting law enforcement from serving, delivering, or acting on any notice, order or writ of termination of tenancy, relating to residential evictions for nonpayment.
On March 23, 2020, I ordered Oregonians to "Stay Home, Save Lives," directing individuals to stay home to the greatest extent possible, ordering the closure of specified retail businesses, requiring social distancing measures for other public and private facilities, and imposing requirements for outdoor areas and licensed childcare facilities.
On April 1, 2020, I imposed a temporary moratorium on the termination of residential and nonresidential rental agreements and evictions for nonpayment, to ensure that individuals can stay at home to the greatest extent possible, and to ensure the provision of necessary goods and services during this emergency.
On April 8, 2020, I announced that school closures and the suspension of in-person instructional activities at higher education institutions would be extended through the end of the current academic term and school year.
COVID-19 may cause respiratory disease leading to serious illness or death. The World Health Organization considers COVID-19 to be a global pandemic. COVID-19 spreads person-to-person through coughing, sneezing, and close personal contact, including touching a surface with the virus on it and then touching your mouth, nose, or eyes.
State and local public health officials advise that the virus is circulating in the community and expect the number of cases to increase. The United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that COVID-19 is most contagious when the individual is most symptomatic, but may also spread before symptoms appear. CDC recommends measures to limit spread of the disease in the community, including limitations on events and gatherings.
The number of COVID-19 cases continues to rise in Oregon. On March 8, 2020, at the time I declared an emergency, there were 14 presumptive or confirmed cases in Oregon. As of today, there are at least 1,663 confirmed cases and 58 deaths.
In a short time, COVID-19 has spread rapidly. To slow the spread of COVID-19 in Oregon, and to protect the health and lives of Oregonians, particularly those at highest risk, I find that immediate implementation of additional measures is necessary to protect the health, safety, and the financial stability of all Oregonians.
During this emergency, state and local governments must continue to operate, provide essential services, and make decisions in a public and transparent manner. Governments must do so safely, consistent with my emergency directives. Public participation is essential to the functioning of our state and local governments, but in-person attendance at public meetings presents a risk to the public health and safety of Oregonians, unless appropriate measures are taken. Thus, during this emergency, public meetings should be held via telephone, video, electronic or other virtual means, whenever possible, to keep Oregonians safe, and to mitigate the spread of COVID-19. Likewise, local governments need to be able to hold budget meetings in a way that comports with my stay-at-home directives, so they can complete their upcoming budget processes and ensure continued delivery of essential government services.
NOW THEREFORE, IT IS HEREBY DIRECTED AND ORDERED THAT:
Pursuant to ORS 433.441, ORS 401.168, ORS 401.175, ORS 401.188, and ORS 401.192, I am issuing the following directives, which authorize state and local governments to take necessary measures to ensure continued operations, public participation in decision-making, and the provision of essential government services in a safe manner during the COVID-19 outbreak:
1. Definition. "COVID-19 emergency period" means the period during which the COVID-19 state of emergency declared by Executive Order 20-03 is in effect, including any extensions of that state of emergency.
2. Public Meetings. During the COVID-19 emergency period:
a. The governing body of a public body ( as defined by ORS 192.610(3) and (4)) shall hold public meetings and hearings by telephone, video, or through some other electronic or virtual means, whenever possible. For all public meetings and hearings held by telephone, video, or through other electronic or virtual means, the public body shall make available a method by which the public can listen to or virtually attend the public meeting or hearing at the time it occurs, and the public body does not have to provide a physical space for the public to attend the meeting or hearing. This paragraph does not apply to executive sessions, as defined by ORS 192.610(2).
b. When public meetings or hearings of a governing body of a public body cannot be held by telephone, video, or through some other electronic or virtual means pursuant to paragraph 2(a) of this Executive Order, persons attending those meetings must maintain appropriate social distancing (six feet or more between individuals), to the maximum extent possible.
c. Any requirements by law or policy that testimony during a public meeting or hearing be taken in person do not apply if the public body provides an opportunity for submission of testimony by telephone, video, or through some other electronic or virtual means, or provides a means of submitting written testimony, including by email or other electronic methods, that the public body may consider in a timely manner. This paragraph does not apply to contested case hearings held pursuant to ORS chapter 183.
d. Unless otherwise required by law, a quorum of the governing body of a public body and the number of its members required for an affirmative act consists of a majority of its members, excluding those unable to attend because of illness due to COVID-19.
3. Local Budget Meetings. During the COVID-19 emergency period:
a. Any requirement under ORS 294.305 to 294.565, or ORS 294.900 to 294.930, to provide members of the public or taxpayers an opportunity to ask questions and comment, or to appear before or meet with, or to attend a hearing of, either a budget committee established under ORS 294.414 or ORS 294.905, or the governing body of a municipal corporation as defined by ORS 294.311) or council of local governments (as defined by ORS 294.900), may be satisfied by providing a method of appearing or meeting by telephone, video, or other electronic methods and by also providing a means of submitting written communications, including email or other electronic methods, that the committee or governing body may consider in a timely manner.
b. Publication of any notice, summary, or other document required under ORS 294.305 to 294.565, or ORS 294.900 to 294.930, may be satisfied by posting the notice, summary, or other document in a prominent manner on the internet.
c. If the public health threat underlying the COVID-19 state of emergency, or compliance with an Executive Order issued pursuant to ORS 401.165 to 401.236 in connection with that emergency, causes a municipal corporation to fail to comply with ORS 294.305 to 294.565 or ORS 294.900 to 294.930, then, notwithstanding ORS 294.338(1) or any other law, the municipal corporation may make reasonable expenditures for the continued operation of the municipal corporation within its existing or most recently adopted budget, provided it cures any failure to comply with ORS 294.305 to 294.565 or ORS 294.900 to 294.930 as soon as reasonably practicable.
d. Any requirement of the tax supervising and conservation commission to conduct a hearing under ORS 294.640 or 294.655 may be satisfied by providing a method of appearing or meeting by telephone, video, or other electronic methods, and by also providing a means of submitting written communications, including email or other electronic methods, that the commission may consider in a timely manner before making any objection, recommendation, certification, or order regarding a municipal corporation's proposed budget, special tax levy, or bond issue.
e. The certification requirements specified in ORS 221.770(1)(b) and (c) may be satisfied by holding a hearing and allowing written comment in accordance with paragraph 3(a) of this Executive Order, and by making certification to the Oregon Department of Administrative Services as soon as reasonably practicable upon adoption of the budget.
This Executive Order is issued under the authority conferred to the Governor by ORS 401.165 to 401.236. Pursuant to ORS 401.192(1), the directives set forth in this Executive Order shall have the full force and effect of law, and any existing laws, ordinances, rules and orders shall be inoperative to the extent they are inconsistent with this exercise of the Governor's emergency powers.
This Executive Order is effective immediately, and remains in effect until terminated by the Governor.
Done at Salem, Oregon, this 15th day of April, 2020.
SECRETARY OF STATE