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K Marie

Starting Tuesday, the City of Portland will bar the majority of its employees from going to work, mandating all staff who can work remotely to do so.

In an email sent to all city employees, Portland Chief Administrative Officer Tom Rinehart said employees have until the end of the day to collect any essential items from their office before their electronic badges—which give them access to city buildings—will be turned off. The only employees who will be granted access to city facilities are City Council members, the city's COVID-19 response team, bureau directors, emergency responders, security officers, critical maintenance workers, janitorial staff, and certain customer service members.

As of Monday morning, the only members of City Council working in Portland City Hall are Mayor Ted Wheeler and City Commissioner Jo Ann Hardesty.

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Rinehart said the lockdown will persist until Thursday, March 26, "but may well be extended." It's not yet clear how this decision will impact weekly City Council meetings.

According to the mayor’s office, city administrators are still discussing how to keep essential city programs running while many employees are working remotely.