Protesters to hold Reopen Oregon rally, calling state's economic situation 'very, very dire'

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A group of Oregonians is preparing to gather outside the state Capitol in Salem to urge Democratic Governor Kate Brown to reopen parts of their state’s economy.

The group calls themselves Oregon Uniting for Liberty. Their spokesperson, Adam Ellifritt, spoke to Fox News about what they hope to gain from this protest, scheduled for Saturday.

“The situation here in Oregon is very, very dire. And so we're hoping with a big turnout and with the picketing, that will at least tell the governor that she's got to pay closer attention to what people are feeling here in Oregon,” Ellifritt told Fox News.

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There are more than 600 registered attendees in the Reopen Oregon Rally’s Facebook group and Ellifritt says they are expecting up to a few thousand people to show up this weekend.

Ellifritt says Brown's mishandling of the response and overreach in setting guidelines has only intensified people’s frustrations with the job she is doing. 

“She's not following federal guidelines. She's following her own guidelines," he said. "I think she has massively failed to a great extent in the state of Oregon, but she was failing prior to coronavirus in the policies that she set up.”

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For a state that already had serious financial woes, the economic freeze has been a devastating blow. Since mid-March, 330,000 people in Oregon have filed for unemployment. Almost half of those people have yet to receive a check from the government due to a backlog of unprocessed job claims.

“A lot people are living paycheck to paycheck. And these people are fed up because they don't have a job. They can't get unemployment right now. Hopefully it's coming. But to go a month without any pay, when you're already living paycheck to paycheck, what are you supposed to do?” said Ellifritt.

While the group is eager to get back to work, Ellifritt says they understand the severity of the situation and are not expecting things to go back to normal anytime soon.

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“I do think there's a cautious way forward that's realistic. And I keep saying that a soft reopening looks like it would be legitimately feasible here.”