Baker City joins the protest against Brown’s emergency powers

By on Wednesday, May 12th, 2021 in Columbia Basin News More Top Stories

PENDLETON – The Baker City City Council and Mayor Kerry McQuisten stood in the media spotlight recently after passing a resolution declaring an economic, mental health, and criminal activity crisis due to Gov. Kate Brown’s state of emergency rules, and OSHA mandates and guidance.

Umatilla County Board of Commissioners Chairman George Murdock welcomes all new voices to the campaign that’s attempting to prod Gov. Brown into returning emergency control to the local governments.

“Their resolution, although it’s gotten a tremendous amount of even national publicity, really doesn’t do anything more than what we’ve already done,” Murdock said. “What the city of Pendleton has done, the city of Hermiston, and Umatilla County.

In addition, the Eastern Oregon Counties Association and the Association of Oregon Counties have issued similar calls, as have municipalities. Murdock hopes people don’t believe that because of the media attention, Baker City is now operating outside of state rules.

“Any business that flouts those rules is under the same penalties that we are,” Murdock said. “If there’s a belief that Baker City is now wide open and we could be that way too, that’s simply not true.”

Murdock expects Gov. Brown’s reaction to the Baker City resolution will be the same as other resolutions and communications sent by Umatilla County and numerous others – silence.

Editor’s note: An in-depth interview with the mayor of Baker City can be found at