In fact, I've been trying to get them lifted since they were announced.
I offered an amendment to do just that at the March 30th Council meeting, but it was voted down 7-2 by the Council with only Councilor Kim Cook voting with me.
Psst! If you would like to see/hear the debate around this from the March 30th meeting, it can be watched at this link. The amendment and debate begins at 3 hours, 6 minutes into the meeting.
After failing on March 30th, I tried again at our next meeting on April 14th with the same result: a 7-2 vote with only Councilor Cook and I in favor of lifting the restrictions.
The City's FAQ
It was after the April 14th meeting that the City widely publicized the restrictions through the FAQ published on its website. This FAQ was further publicized by organizations including Portland Downtown, and Portland Buy Local.
Since then the outcry has been tremendous.
At this time, having heard directly from business owners, employees, and the community at large just how detrimental these restrictions are to the health and well-being of our local economy—which is directly related to the health and well-being of the people of Portland—I am hopeful the Council will reconsider its previous actions.
At the workshop, we won’t be able to take action on our order. What we can do is advise staff to continue NOT enforcing the restrictions this week. Then, next week, when we have our Council meeting on the 27th, we can take action to rescind these restrictions altogether. (There will be opportunity for public comment at that meeting, btw. You can access the agenda and find out how to call-in/Zoom at the City's Agenda Center once the agenda is posted. It will be there by Friday, April 24th.)
If we vote to extend our emergency order at that time, I will again offer my amendment to lift these restrictions and allow non-essential businesses to operate in accordance with social distancing guidance provided by the State--hopefully with greater success this time.
I have simply disagreed that this level of restriction is necessary to achieve those aims, and I have consistently felt that such restrictions would do much more harm than good, leading to business closures, unemployment, poor health, and spiraling financial difficulties for a large segment of our community.
Big thanks to everyone in the community who has written out of concern for the many wonderful businesses (and business owners, and employees) that help to make Portland the unique place that it is. And equally big thanks to my colleagues on the Council who did not hesitate to schedule a special meeting to revisit this issue upon hearing these concerns.