Taxpayers Association of Oregon
For a pandemic, where every piece of information can be critical to protecting the public health and helping the public respond to it, Oregon Governor Kate Brown has been faulted by the media for being secretive and withholding critical information.
Here are 7 examples:
1. Behind ‘closed-doors’ Secret lawmaker gatherings: For more than two months, Gov. Brown have held daily COVID-19 briefings for legislators, but unlike legislative hearings these have not been public, nor live streamed or recorded.
2. Hiding nursing home fatality numbers: The state withheld data on COVID-19 fatalities in nursing homes until one was ordered closed by the state and its death toll reported as part associated legal filings. Nationwide and in Oregon, the largest share of COVID-19 deaths has been among inherently frail nursing home residents.
3. Hiding details on virus data: At the beginning of the virus Governor Brown withheld key data on virus cases such as (1) age ranges, (2) number of ventilators, (3) hospital bed availability and (4) respirator numbers. (read After media pressure, Oregon begins disclosing key numbers on coronavirus cases, readiness)
4. Hiding embarrassing number of people in limbo over jobless benefits: The Employment Department’s disastrous failure in responding to a historic flood of unemployment claims was well known from its earliest days, but the horrifying number of unprocessed claims – topping 200,000 at its peak – was released only under pressure of a legislative oversight hearing.
5. Hiding workplace outbreak numbers: Governor Kate Brown withheld information on major workplace outbreaks of the virus. This information could have allowed the public to respond who have had contact with the business.
6. Hiding hospital data: The Oregon Health Authority released daily counts of COVID-19 hospitalizations, yet refuses to release the numbers by hospital, claiming that this could unintentionally identify COVID-19 patients.
7. Just plain hiding: Governor Kate Brown was criticized by the media for both cancelling media appearances and not making herself available to the media during the outbreak. One Portland TV News outlet proclaimed “Where’s Governor Brown”. This happened around early April where getting as much information o the public was critical.
8. Hiding methodology behind reopening criteria: Despite media requests, Governor Brown withheld data science that the state used to determine how they would re-open each county. (read Oregon uses coronavirus data to make decisions about reopening. It refuses to release that data)
9. Rushed special session: Governor Brown called a Special Session with just about one week’s advanced notice and even less notice for the period for when the public could testify. Public testimony was limited by the unprepared pieces of legislation and the sheer volume of unrelated legislation (like tax increases) that have nothing to do with the pressing emergencies of COVID-19 and racial injustice/police reform.
— 90-plus straight days of virus/shutdown reporting by the Taxpayer Association of Oregon on this website.
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