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The Oregon governor downgrades 15 counties, including Multnomah, as hospitalization rates stabilize.

PMG FILE PHOTO - Oregon Gov. Kate Brown at a previous COVID-19 press conference.Oregon Gov. Kate Brown announced 15 counties — including Multnomah County — will return to less restrictive COVID-19 levels on Friday, May 7.

"With the statewide seven-day average increase for hospitalized COVID-19 positive patients dropping below 15%, Oregon no longer meets the statewide metrics for the Extreme Risk level," the announcement said.

Brown made the announcement the same day she was sued in federal court by a coalition of parents and businesses who said her limitations on school and businesses hours have "no rational basis in fact."

Brown had said the additional restrictions were necessary to save lives, but that the pandemic threat was receding.

Brown had ordered the 15 counties into the more restrictive "Extreme Risk" category one week ago as COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations were surging. But on Tuesday, May 4, she said levels had come down enough they could return to lower the lower "High Risk" category.

"I know this will bring relief to many across the state. However, the lifting of Extreme Risk health and safety measures comes with great personal responsibility for us all," Brown said in the Tuesday announcement. "If Oregonians continue to keep up their guard, follow High Risk health and safety measures, and get vaccinated as fast as possible, we should see our COVID-19 case and hospitalization rates decline. I'd like to thank Oregonians for taking this surge seriously for the last several weeks. It's because of you that our hospitals have not been overwhelmed."

Earlier Tuesday, a lawsuit was filed in federal court to overturn Brown's executive orders intended to slow the spread of COVID-19. The suit requests an injunction to prevent the orders from being enforced.

The suit was triggered by last week's order to move 15 counties into "Extreme Risk" category for spreading COVID-19.

Sandy Mayor Stan Pulliam supports the suit. He has announced his intention to run for Oregon governor in 2022 but is not a party to the suit.

The lawsuit was filed on May 4 on behalf of: Oregon Moms Union and Heart of Main Street, two political action committees; Spud Moneys Inc., a restaurant; and Melissa Adams, an individual.

That day, the Oregon Health Authority reported 748 more cases and six additional deaths from COVID-19.

Here are the upcoming county categories, effective May 7 through 13:

Lower Risk (8)

Gilliam

Harney

Lake

Morrow

Sherman

Union

Wallowa

Wheeler

Moderate Risk (4)

Coos (Moved from High)

Curry

Hood River (Moved from High)

Tillamook

High Risk (24)

Baker (Moved from Extreme)

Benton

Clackamas (Moved from Extreme)

Clatsop

Columbia (Moved from Extreme)

Crook (Moved from Extreme)

Deschutes (Moved from Extreme)

Douglas (Moved from Moderate)

Grant (Moved from Extreme)

Jackson (Moved from Extreme)

Jefferson

Josephine (Moved from Extreme)

Klamath (Moved from Extreme)

Lane (Moved from Extreme)

Lincoln

Linn (Moved from Extreme)

Malheur (Moved from Moderate)

Marion (Moved from Extreme)

Multnomah (Moved from Extreme)

Polk (Moved from Extreme)

Umatilla

Wasco (Moved from Extreme)

Washington

Yamhill

The lawsuit can be found here.

A previous Pamplin Media Group story on the issue can be found here.


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