Jackson Co. Commissioners discuss declaring local state of emergency over vaccine mandate

JACKSON COUNTY, Ore — As Governor Kate Brown’s vaccine deadline approaches, Jackson County Commissioners are discussing the possibility of declaring a local state of emergency in anticipation of a surge of employees leaving the workforce.

Commissioners Rick Dyer, Colleen Roberts and Dave Dotterrer, held their work study session Tuesday morning to discuss the potential resolution. The meeting is available publicly over audio only.

On August 19th, Governor Brown issued a mandate for all health care workers and educators to be fully vaccinated by October 18th. Exemptions of the rule may include religion or other medical issues.

Commissioners voiced their concern that the mandate will force many affected workers to quit, due to opposition of taking the vaccine.

“We can’t afford those losses. A lot of these positions like school bus drivers and custodians will be lost permanently,” one of the Commissioners stated. “Its a problem hiring those positions already. How can we respond and not have our industries devastated by a vaccine mandate.”

RELATED: Nursing union rep estimates 10-20% of Oregon nurses will leave healthcare due to mandate

Roberts noted that they want to talk with the state for the mandate to either be withdrawn or control to be returned on the local level.

“You can speculate what the emergency may look like but when you see the storm coming, you can either wait for it to hit and react, or we can prepare.” Roberts said during the meeting. 

County administrator Danny Jordan questioned the effectiveness of declaring the state of emergency. Jordan stated that some of the hospitals in the area have wanted their workers to be vaccinated, and are prepared for the loss in staff.

Jordan also made clear to people that losing their job is not the only option with the mandate.

“It’s not get the vaccine or else you’re fired. It’s get the vaccine or else get this [exemptions] or else you can’t work.” Jordan said. “The state of emergency doesn’t add anything to what we’re doing now. It’s just a stance and sends a message.”

There has been no word yet of any resolution sent to the Governor’s office.

This remains a developing story and more details will be released as they emerge.

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Anthony Carter
Anthony Carter is a reporter for NBC5 News. He grew up in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and graduated from Elizabethtown College in 2019. Anthony started his career as a print journalist, covering New York sports and the NBA Draft. He then started his own sports podcast and website covering the Arena Football League. Anthony moved to the Rogue Valley in 2019 as a news producer before joining the NBC5 News family. Anthony likes to workout at the gym, play basketball, and root for his Atlanta Hawks and New York Jets. Want to connect with Anthony? send him an email: [email protected]
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