Bend Business Roundup 5-15-20

Bend Business Roundup 5-15-20

Happy Friday,

Here’s some stuff you might like.

Phase I: If you live almost anywhere in Oregon other than Portland Metro and Salem, you probably woke this morning and thought, “So, this is what Phase I feels like.” I know I did.

There’ve been some changes in restrictions for all of Oregon, and more changes in counties like Deschutes that were deemed worthy of graduating from “Baseline” to the aforementioned Phase I. There are now quite a few moving parts to the various executive orders and guidances, so let’s see if we can simplify things a little. Bear in mind the state is now trying to regulate vast swaths of human activity it hadn’t even contemplated until two months ago, so things can be a little hazy. As always, you should consult your lawyer about your specific situation, as what I’m about to give you is not legal advice, nor is it illegal advice:

Executive Order 20-25 = Yesterday’s order defining baseline and Phase I restrictions and processes (if I don’t link to a source below, the source is likely this EO)

Baseline counties = Multnomah, Washington, Clackamas, Polk and Marion counties.

Phase I counties = Every other county.

If you are a person: This should be all of you. Baseline: Gatherings outside the home only up to 10 people, spaced 6 ft apart. Wash your hands, etc. Try to wear masks when in publicPhase I: All of that, plus you can out-of-home gatherings for any reason, with up to 25 attendees so long as you follow physical distancing requirements.

If you employ people: By now, you understand you are only barely tolerated by the state, in spite of your core malevolence, because until the backwards people are finally subjugated and the state is allowed to achieve its rightful place as everything to everyone, you are an essential middle man for tax collection and benefit provision. Baseline: You need to follow these general guidelines, plus require employees to wear masks, and you can require customers to wear masks but

“Take into account that requiring people to wear face coverings affects people differently including people of color who may have heightened concerns about racial profiling and harassment due to wearing face coverings in public.”

The guidance suggests a business interested in requiring customers to wear masks consult its attorney regarding enforceability. You should talk to your attorney. My take: it’s probably ok to require customers to wear masks so long as you require it of all customers, make accommodations for people with health conditions or disabilities that preclude their wearing a mask, ponder at length the stuff quoted above, and if someone won’t wear a mask and won’t leave willingly, call the police and don’t try to forcibly remove them yourself. Come up with a policy about masks and stick to it. Phase I is the same, but with specific rules pertaining to specific industries.

If you own a retail store that’s not a mall or shopping centerBaseline: Allowed subject to this guidancePhase I: Same.

If you own/operate an outdoor recreation organization: Baseline: Allowed subject to this guidance.  Phase I: Same.

If you own a childcare businessBaseline: Allowed subject to this guidancePhase I: Same.

If you own a restaurant or barBaseline: Take out and delivery only. Phase I: Some dine-in allowed subject to this guidance.

If you own a salon/barber shop/massage therapy businessBaseline: Nada. Phase I: Allowed subject to this guidance.

If you own a gymBaseline: My 600 pound life. Phase I: Allowed subject to this guidance.

If you own a mall or shopping centerBaseline: Paul Blart’s waiting for Oregon to process his unemployment. Phase I: Allowed subject to this guidance.

Got all that? Good. I know the temptation is to disregard some of this stuff because it may seem silly – some of it is. However, you shouldn’t because (a) you don’t want to get shut down by the state or sued; and (b) if we make a mess of this we will be dragged back to a version of lockdown that makes baseline look heavenly. There are plenty of folks who are just waiting to tell the story that even this tentative reopening was ill-conceived and dangerous. Let’s be responsible and not give them that opportunity.

Nursing Homes and Andrew Cuomo: It’s become increasingly clear COVID-19 is especially lethal to residents of nursing homes and similar facilities, where there are lots of old people with serious underlying conditions. It’s looking like, among the many public policy mistakes at all levels of government during this crisis, the biggest may have been our failure to ensure that nursing home patients are protected from the disease. Exhibit A is New York.

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has gained national attention for his direct and fact-filled press conferences during the crisis, with some Democrats fantasizing about Cuomo somehow replacing Joe Biden as the party’s presidential nominee. The public perception of Cuomo’s handling of the crisis for some reason (more on that) caught up with the fact that his record on nursing homes is horrific. His administration issued an order requiring nursing homes to readmit residents who had been hospitalized with COVID-19, and to accept new residents who were COVID-19 so long as they were “medically stable.” Not only were nursing homes allowed to accept residents who had COVID-19, they were required to accept them, and to expose their highly vulnerable patients to the disease.

Before the existence of the order became public, Cuomo called nursing homes a “feeding frenzy” for the virus. They are. In New York, they are at least in part because of his administration’s rules.

That’s just the start. Cuomo’s staff then slipped a provision in the state budget bill to shield health care facilities, including nursing homes, from liability for negligence claims arising from people catching COVID-19 at the facility. This effectively means that the vast majority of people who are harmed will have no legal recourse at all.

The way this kind of thing happens: (1) the governor tells nursing homes you have to take Covid patients; (2) nursing homes say that’s really dangerous and it’s going to make people sick and kill them and we don’t want to be sued for doing something we wouldn’t do unless you were forcing us to do it; (3) governor says fine, I’ll make it so you can’t be sued. It is an acknowledgement of the extreme danger of the policy. it’s really hard to sue the state – the truly culpable party here – for this kind of thing. So you end up with a bunch of captive old people in various stages of mental and physical illness being subjected to a disease that is wickedly well-suited to kill them, and there’s nothing they or their families can do about it. It’s appalling.

Putting these pieces together, a newspaper editor could write a headline like this: “Cuomo Exposed Most Vulnerable to Virus; Prevented Them from Suing if they Got Sick or Died.” Why isn’t this what most people know about Cuomo ? Take a closer look at those two New York Times articles I linked above.

In the first, about the order requiring admission of infected patients, the Times didn’t mention Cuomo’s lackluster response to a question about the order (“It’s a good question. I don’t know”) and then confirmed the order the next day ,until late in the story. In the second, the one about the liability shield, the Times didn’t bother to mention the fact that New York had required nursing homes to take Covid patients until the 23rd paragraph. The Times bent over backwards to downplay Cuomo’s culpability. If this were happening in Florida or Georgia, where the media have been practically begging for an outbreak following the partial reopening of those states by their Republican governors, the Times would, rightfully, be calling for the resignation of those governors.

I don’t like to write about media bias much because it’s like complaining about the referees in football – it doesn’t change much – but this example is so blatant I had to do it.

Oregon’s 2nd District Congressional Primary: The Bulletin here in Bend ran a piece I wrote about the race in the Republican primary to replace my long-ago boss Greg Walden as the representative of Oregon’s 2nd Congressional District. Ballots must be received by Tuesday, so go vote. Here’s the link and here’s the piece:

Guest Column: The conservative case for Knute Buehler

BY JEFF EAGER

Published Fri May 08, 2020 9:15 PM PDT

There’s an unexpected vacancy in Oregon’s 2nd Congressional District. In a crowded Republican primary, where the race in the heavily Republican district is likely to be decided, one candidate, having represented a left-leaning district in the Legislature, is called a “moderate.” Others, including one named Atkinson, are considered more “conservative.”

Sound familiar? It should, but maybe not in the way you think. It describes the 1998 Republican primary, in which Greg Walden, former state legislator from Hood River, was the “moderate” and Medford’s Perry Atkinson and others were the “conservatives.” Walden won and went on to amass a solidly conservative voting record over two decades.

In the later years, when Walden was chairman of the House Republican campaign operation or the powerful Commerce Committee, progressive activists packed his Bend town halls to bemoan his opposition to Obamacare and his support for border security and increased timber harvests. Few inside Congress or in the 2nd District would describe Walden as a “moderate” today.

Walden announced his retirement in late 2019, and there’s a brutal fight to replace him in the Republican primary, with eerily similar dynamics to 1998. You have one candidate, former Bend state Rep. Knute Buehler, sometimes called a “moderate,” and a handful of “conservatives,” including former state Sen. Jason Atkinson, Perry Atkinson’s son.

This shorthand formulation of the 2020 race is as misleading as it was in 1998. The evidence is that Buehler, like Walden, is a conservative who will cast conservative votes in Congress.

Both Buehler and Walden represented Democrat-leaning districts in the Legislature. Buehler has stuck to his conservative principles in spite of intense electoral adversity. Being a conservative is easy when you represent a conservative district, and even easier if you have no public voting record at all and there’s no way for voters to see how you react when your ideology rubs up against reality. It’s a lot harder when you represent a progressive district like Bend or, in Walden’s case, Hood River.

Democrats know Buehler’s a conservative. Through two House races and unsuccessful runs for secretary of state and governor, Buehler ran on conservative themes: cutting taxes, regulations and wasteful spending; addressing the human tragedy of homelessness in Oregon’s cities, especially Portland; and, standing up for our constitutional system by opposing sanctuary cities. In response, over those four races Democrats and their allies spent more to try to defeat Buehler than they have against any Oregon Republican, ever, and it’s not even close. They saw him as a conservative threat to the progressive monopoly on Oregon’s government. Their spending proves it.

Buehler is very likely to have a pro-life voting record in Congress. Following Walden’s retirement announcement, Oregon Right to Life, the state’s main anti-abortion lobby, said, “Congressman Walden has been a reliable pro-life vote.” There’s no daylight between Buehler’s and Walden’s positions on abortion. Like Walden, Buehler opposes federal funding of abortions, supports the Hyde amendment that bans federal tax dollars from being spent on abortion, and opposes late-term and after-birth abortion. What’s more, Buehler has a record in the Legislature opposing extreme pro-abortion bills. Pro-Life voters can expect that Buehler’s abortion voting record in Congress will be very similar if not identical to Walden’s.

With this history as a guide, 2nd District Republicans can trust Buehler to continue Walden’s exemplary leadership as the sole conservative representing Oregon in Congress

Business Finder: These are open businesses owned by BBR readers.

Mortgage Broker – Arbor Mortgage – Rob Moore – 541-323-0422.

Printing, including physical distancing signs for businesses – Premier Printing – Brett Davis 541-617-9899

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Have a great weekend!

Jeff started EagerLaw PC to help Oregon entrepreneurs succeed in business. Jeff worked in Washington, D.C. for Oregon Congressman Greg Walden, served as Mayor of the City of Bend, and has been practicing law in Oregon for over a decade. Jeff believes strongly in entrepreneurship and enjoys making the legal side of business transparent and easy for his clients.

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