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The city attorney's office advised city staff on Tuesday that the order was legally dubious.

PMG FILE PHOTO - Police on patrol in Portland.Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler announced on Wednesday that he will not be mandating the city's police force get vaccinated.

The city attorney's office advised city staff on Tuesday that the order issued last week that all employees be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 or risk losing their jobs could not be extended to the city's police force. That was due to new guidance from the Oregon Health Authority, which said the Governor's order mandating vaccines for health care workers likely did not apply to police.

The city has interpreted that guidance to mean they can not implement a vaccine mandate on their own police force.

"I am disappointed that we can't hold all of our City employees to the same vaccine requirement," Wheeler said in a statement. "However, state law prohibits us from requiring vaccinations for police officers unless there's a federal or state law, regulation or rule that mandates they get vaccinated."

Multnomah County is in a similar predicament to Portland. The county has issued a vaccine mandate for all county employees, which extends to the sheriff's office. A county spokesperson said officials are still looking into how the new guidance applies to the sheriff's office.

The Oregon State Police has not responded to an inquiry into whether it will be impacted by the new OHA guidance.

Oregon Public Broadcasting is a news partner of the Portland Tribune. Click here to read their full story.


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