Ice-damaged trees in the Grant neighborhood of Salem on Saturday, Feb. 13. (Sam Skillern photo)
In response to reports of hotels charging exorbitant prices to people left without electricity after snowstorms, Gov. Kate Brown has issued an executive order intended to curb price gouging.
On Tuesday, Feb. 16, Brown declared an “abnormal market disruption” because of snow and ice storms that created emergency conditions in nine Oregon counties, including Marion and Polk. The governor’s order gives the Oregon Department of Justice power to investigate and take action against businesses that increase prices by 15% or more on goods after the disruption.
“During a time when so many Oregonians have been without power for days, it is absolutely unacceptable to price gouge those who are seeking a warm, safe place to stay until power is back on in their homes,” said Brown in a statement.
Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum also issued a statement signaling she would crack down on price-gougers. Oregonians who suspect they’ve been price-gouged can file a complaint through the Oregon Department of Justice’s Consumer Protection Hotline at 877-877-9392. More information can be found at www.OregonConsumer.gov.
So far, the Salem area, which has been battered by the weather, has generated no complaints, according to Kristina Edmunson, spokeswoman for the department.