New lawsuit challenges Oregon’s Covid restrictions

(Ron Cooper/Salem Reporter)

Two advocacy groups and a Gresham restaurant are the latest to take Oregon Gov. Kate Brown to court over her Covid restrictions. 

Since the pandemic began in March last year, Brown has enacted sweeping restrictions that reshaped school, work and other aspects of daily life. Those restrictions have brought multiple legal challenges in state and federal court arguing that the governor had jumped constitutional guardrails. 

So far, none of them have succeeded. But on Tuesday, groups representing parents and restaurants tried again. 

Filed in U.S. District Court in Portland, the complaint was brought on behalf of Melissa Adams, the owner of Gresham-based Spud Monkey’s; Oregon Moms Union, a group that court filings described as a political action committee advocating for children and students; and the Heart of Main Street, another political action committee representing restaurants in Oregon.

The lawsuit was filed by Christopher Dolan and Edward Trompke of the Lake Oswego-based Jordan Ramis PC law firm. It argues that Brown’s order violates the U.S. constitution’s equal protection clause while depriving businesses of their Fifth and Fourteenth Amendment protections without due process. 

It further argues that the school closures “have no rational basis in fact,” and violate the rights of parents to control their children’s education. With vaccinations against Covid ramping up, the lawsuit argues that restaurants are now subject to “irrational restrictions.”

The Governor’s Office has not yet filed a response to the suit.

-Jake Thomas