Day: June 25, 2021

Governor Kate Brown Announces Oregon to Reopen No Later than Wednesday, June 30

Under COVID-19 Recovery Order, state’s emergency response will transition to focus on COVID-19 recovery efforts in the coming months

Governor Kate Brown today signed a recovery-focused executive order lifting all remaining COVID-19 health and safety restrictions issued under Oregon’s emergency statutes. Restrictions will be lifted when Oregon achieves a 70% first dose adult vaccination rate or on Wednesday, June 30, whichever occurs sooner. With restrictions lifted, the state will shift to a focus on helping Oregonians and communities recover from the impacts and the economic toll of the pandemic.

“I’m proud of our collective efforts to vaccinate more than 2.3 million Oregonians. It is because of this success that we can move Oregon forward, and into the next chapter of this pandemic. We are ready,” said Governor Brown.

“We should all take pride in the work we have done to bring us to this moment. The efforts underway to close our vaccine equity gap and reach every Oregonian with information and a vaccine have definitely helped bring us this far. Thank you to all who are going the extra mile to vaccinate Oregonians.”

The Governor signed the executive order today in a press conference with Oregon Health Authority Director Patrick Allen, state epidemiologist Dr. Dean Sidelinger, and Oregon Department of Education Director Colt Gill.

Recovery Order

The Governor’s recovery order rescinds Executive Order 20-66, the successor to her original “Stay Home, Save Lives” order and subsequent “Safe and Strong Oregon” orders, which authorized Oregon’s statewide mask mandate and the county risk level system, including restrictions on businesses and other sectors for physical distancing, capacity limits, closing times, and more. The recovery order also rescinds Executive Order Order 20-22 (Non-urgent Healthcare Procedures), Executive Order 21-06 (K-12 Schools), Executive Order 20-28 (Higher Education), and Executive Order 20-19 (Childcare Facilities).

With the repeal of the set of executive orders that placed COVID-19 related restrictions on Oregonians, the recovery order extends the emergency declaration for the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The Governor’s remaining emergency authority will be limited in focus to COVID-19 recovery efforts, similar to the recovery executive order currently in place for 2020 wildfire season recovery.

Emergency authority continues to be necessary to provide flexibility and resources for vaccination efforts, health system response to COVID-19 including staffing flexibility, Oregon’s access to FEMA, enhanced SNAP benefits, and other federal aid, to allow the continued operation of certain emergency child care providers through the summer, unemployment insurance claim processing, and more. The recovery order does not provide authorization for agencies to renew restrictions based on emergency authorities.

Continued Governor Brown: “This is a pivotal moment for Oregon. We have endured a lot over the past several months. We must recognize that it has been exceptionally difficult for our Black, Indigenous, Latino, Latina, Latinx, Asian, Pacific Islander, and Tribal communities. Disparities that existed before are even wider now. I am incredibly proud of the work that our local health partners and community-based organizations have done to reach Oregonians from communities of color and make progress toward closing the equity gaps in our vaccination efforts.

“Brighter days are ahead. And, we are more determined than ever to make sure we ground our state in a strong recovery that reaches every single Oregonian as we turn a page on this chapter of the pandemic. Our work is not done, but we can all take a moment to celebrate that by next week, we will be moving forward together.”

Some statewide mask requirements may stay in place in specialized settings following federal guidance, including airports, public transit, and health care settings. The Governor’s recovery order will remain in effect until December 31, 2021, unless terminated earlier.

K-12 Education, Higher Education, and Childcare

Rescinding the Governor’s executive orders for K-12 schools, higher education, and childcare will mean a shift to a more traditional, local decision-making model for communities when it comes to serving the health and safety needs of students and children.

In order to ensure a return to full-time, in-person instruction in the fall, the Oregon Department of Education and the Oregon Health Authority will be issuing updated, advisory guidance for the 2021-22 school year. Schools will still be expected to comply with longstanding regulations around the control of infectious diseases, and to have a communicable disease management plan.

Additional materials
• A copy of Governor Brown’s signed recovery order is available here.
• A copy of the Governor’s prepared remarks from today’s press conference is available here.
• More information on vaccines is available at covidvaccine.oregon.gov.

Chlorine Supply Disruption update for Lincoln City Update

Update 06.25.21:

Update on chlorine supply impacts resulting from a recent electrical failure at Westlake Chemical in Longview, Washington. The electrical failure caused a complete facility shut down two weeks ago. This Westlake facility produces much of the chlorine product supply for the Pacific Northwest.
 
The Oregon Association of Clean Water Agencies (ACWA) has been working diligently in a coordinated effort with the state Office of Emergency Management (OEM), the Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ), the League of Oregon Cities (LOC), the Special Districts Association of Oregon (SDAO), the Oregon Water/Wastewater Agency Response Network (ORWARN), the Oregon Health Authority (OHA), and local water and wastewater providers to maintain an accurate picture of the situation and to assist water and wastewater utilities in addressing a variety of chlorine supply challenges. ACWA is participating in daily meetings of the Emergency Command Center and a water/wastewater utility coordinating group.
 
This morning, OEM staff reported that Westlake successfully installed a replacement electrical transformer and completed its testing earlier this week. This enabled the restart of the facility on Wednesday, June 23rd, earlier than initially estimated. The Longview plant was able to secure a spare transformer from its customer, NORPAC, and the plant has been safely restarted. Although this is promising news, it will take time to resolve the chlorine shortage situation across the region. Because of the duration of the shut-down, there will be a lag time in restoring normal supplies to the region. State and federal agencies worked with a supplier in Canada and have secured some additional chlorine, which has been received at the Westlake site for distribution as a stop-gap measure.
 
While some water and wastewater utilities have been receiving shipments of chlorine products, others have not, and some are experiencing difficulties in getting information from suppliers about when deliveries will be made.  ACWA is continuing to coordinate with state and local partners to support wastewater systems to secure access to necessary chlorine supply or have other tools/resources needed to maintain environmental quality and permit compliance.
 
Last week ACWA, in collaboration with LOC and SDAO, distributed a survey of chlorine inventories and delivery schedules to all of the ACWA main contacts. We received completed surveys from nearly 120 wastewater treatment agencies across the state. The survey responses have been tremendously helpful to ACWA and DEQ in maintaining situational awareness, and in identifying critical needs and facilities that have material that can be shared. Thank you to all of you who responded.

The Lincoln City Public Works Department continues to monitor the situation closely and still has no issues at this point with the chlorine supply disruption and the water is safe to drink. We will monitor the situation closely and take proactive actions if necessary.

We aren’t asking people to curtail water use beyond good conservation practices at this time with a looming drought.

Original 06.18.21:

The Lincoln City Public Works Department has been proactively working this issue over the last 24 hours and we have coordinated with Lincoln City Parks and Recreation Department. Here is the current status for Lincoln City;

  • Our water treatment method uses chlorine in the form of chlorine gas in very small amounts to ensure our water is safe to drink. We have approximately 80 days of chlorine supply remaining.
  • Some wastewater treatment plants also use chlorine gas but ours does not – we use ultra-violet light to disinfect.
  • Our pools were converted to an ultra-violet and Calcium Hypochlorite tablet system in 2017; we have enough supply of the tablets to get us through the summer.


Currently the City has no issues at this point with the chlorine supply disruption and the water is safe to drink.  We will monitor the situation closely and take proactive actions if necessary.

We aren’t asking people to curtail water use beyond good conservation practices at this time.