Well, that didn’t get off to a hopeful start.
The Oregon Legislature met on Monday for a one-day, quick-and-out session intended to pass emergency pandemic-related legislation which wasn’t really all that controversial.
So much for that.
A writer from Portland showed up at the Oregon Statehouse early Monday – “entirely too early to be alive” and reported seeing: “a bunch of far right activists have gathered to protest the state government’s decision to close their legislative session to the public today.” (The numbers of protesters, estimated at around 100 to 150, were smaller than at many other Statehouse events around the country, but enough to do damage and intimidate.)
The doors to the Statehouse were closed, all right, because of people like them: Or put another way, to avoid turning a legislative session into a mass Covid-19 super-spreader event.
How it started pic.twitter.com/HyKbwmAphT
— Laura Jedeed, Space Professional (@LauraJedeed) December 21, 2020
Some of the people outside were carrying high-powered firearms, which was another good reason not to let them in. They also called for arrest of the governor (who, they may not have known, doesn’t work out of the Statehouse).
No bullets were filed and, unlike in Idaho, none of the glass doors were broken – the Oregon police succeeded generally in maintaining control of the building – but mace and bear spray was exchanged. Four people were arrested.
Inside, a Republican senator from Roseburg stalked off the floor, tearing off his mask, after declaring he was perfectly willing to wear one but refused to be required to.
Is this the kind of session Oregon has to look forward to in coming months?