Internet outage hits Oregon agencies, Legislature delayed

UPDATE at 12:30 p.m.: Internet service has been restored at the Capitol. The House and Senate plan to resume at 1 p.m.

Multiple state agencies are experiencing internet outages tied to a firewall update, hindering employees from doing their jobs and blocking the Legislature from making progress on hundreds of bills.

An email sent to state employees Wednesday morning by the Department of Administrative Services described the issue as beginning at 7 a.m. and as a “SEV-1,” or severity level one, event. That’s considered a critical event and made it the top priority for state technology staff to fix. 

The issue included remote connectivity outages and blocked legislative employees from using their Office applications, the email said. The department doesn’t plan to update state staff until 11 a.m.

The outage postponed scheduled House and Senate floor sessions until at least 11 a.m., with the possibility that delays will take longer. The chambers could proceed without the internet by printing bills, but members of the public wouldn’t be able to watch live proceedings.

Landlines in the Capitol were also down because they operate over the internet, leaving staff to carry messages back and forth between the House and Senate because their phones and state email weren’t working.

The Oregon Department of Administrative Services had no immediate further details, other than that there’s an “intermittent connectivity issue.” The agency’s Enterprise Information Services, which oversees cybersecurity, is investigating the issue, a spokesperson said.

The outage also affected the state’s campaign finance system and business registry, the Secretary of State’s Office announced on Twitter.

Reporter Ben Botkin contributed to this article

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Julia Shumway is deputy editor of Oregon Capital Chronicle and has reported on government and politics in Iowa and Nebraska, spent time at the Bend Bulletin and most recently was a legislative reporter for the Arizona Capitol Times in Phoenix. An award-winning journalist, Julia most recently reported on the tangled efforts to audit the presidential results in Arizona.