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Large group responds when rumor spreads that OSHA was going to cite Eagle Bakery

HOLLY SCHOLZ/MADRAS PIONEER
 - An estimated 250 people rallied at Eagle Bakery Friday after a rumor spread that the businesses was to be cited by OSHA because of noncompliance with COVID protocols. OSHA officials have subpoenaed the business for information, but has not cited them.

Supporters crowded into the parking lot at the Eagle Bakery Friday, March 26.

Scott Stuart of We the People estimates 250 people gathered to support the business.

"I showed support for We the People and the rights that are being trampled upon by a despot, tyrannical, unjust public servant by the name of Kate Brown," says Stuart.

Jefferson County Commissioners Mae Huston and Kelly Simmelink attended the gathering. Simmelink says, "I was just there to support local businesses. I bought some cinnamon rolls."

People gathered because of rumors the Oregon Occupational Safety and Health Administration planned to serve the business.

In fact, a person did deliver a document to the owner of the bakery, Rob Birky. According to Oregon OSHA, the document was a summons.

"It is not a citation," says Aaron Corvin, spokesperson for Oregon OSHA. "If during an inspection we have questions, sometimes we have to issue (a summons) if the cooperation isn't there on the part of the employer."

Corvin says the agency opened a case against Eagle Bakery when someone filed a complaint. The bakery served diners indoors when that violated COVID health restrictions, and employees generally do not wear masks.

"We're working with this employer," says Jarrodd Bohn, the inspector on this case. "He's exercising his rights, and we're just working with this employer to get him to comply."

Corvin says OSHA has subpoenaed Birky at least twice to respond to the allegations. So far, Birky ignored the summonses. Birky did not respond to the Pioneer's requests for an interview by print deadline.

The agency also has an open case against Black Bear Diner. The diner opened for indoor dining while COVID restrictions prevented indoor dining.

So far, OSHA has not cited the bakery nor the diner, and neither is in danger of being closed any time soon.

"Oregon OSHA does not close businesses," says Corvin. "The agency does impose penalties, or fines. "Those penalties can increase markedly when there's continued noncompliance."

During the pandemic, Oregon OSHA has levied fines as high as $126,000 against Capitol Racquet Sports in Salem, $18,150 to the Firehouse Restaurant in Florence, and $8,900 to Kevista Coffee in Bend. Most fines were less than $1,000, and there have been no fines in Jefferson County.


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