Gov. Brown maskless in photo from D.C. event as officials consider permanent Oregon rule

Connor Radnovich
Salem Statesman Journal
Gov. Kate Brown is shown maskless at a Washington, D.C. event on Saturday, Dec. 4, 2021.

As Oregon officials debate whether to make Oregon's indoor mask mandate permanent, Gov. Kate Brown attended an indoor gala in Washington, D.C., on Saturday during which she appeared in a photo without a mask.

The photo sparked calls of hypocrisy on social media, though D.C. does not have an indoor mask mandate.

Other photos taken during the event showed the vast majority of attendees were not wearing masks. Brown appeared masked in one additional photo — alongside an unmasked Oregon House Speaker Tina Kotek, D-Portland, — and in another unmasked while talking to an attendee sitting at a table next to where she sat.

Brown was attending the LGBTQ Victory Fund's 30th Anniversary Gala, where she was inducted into its Hall of Fame. 

Chris Pair, a political advisor to Brown, said in an email that gala attendees were required to show proof of vaccination before entering the venue. Furthermore, he said, Brown remained masked during the event "except when giving her acceptance speech, eating or taking pictures with attendees."

Oregon is one of a handful of states still with an indoor mask mandate. The Oregon Health Authority met with stakeholders from the restaurant and indoor entertainment industries last week about making the rule "permanent."

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Permanent doesn't necessarily mean indefinite; the state's current rule is temporary and expires in February. The rule will be made available for public comment by mid-December.

Oregon lifted its outdoor mask mandate in late November. 

Reporter Connor Radnovich covers the Oregon Legislature and state government. Contact him at cradnovich@statesmanjournal.com or 503-399-6864, or follow him on Twitter at @CDRadnovich.

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