Editor's note: A previous version of this story reported that 91 employees were fired from the City of Portland Tuesday. Updated data from the city shows that only 90 staffers were let go due to their vaccination status.
One hundred and twenty-three City of Portland and Multnomah County employees were fired Tuesday for choosing not to get vaccinated against COVID-19 or submit an exemption by October 18, the deadline for the vaccine mandate for government employees. Both the city and county announced vaccine mandates for employees in late August.
According to a Multnomah County spokesperson, 33 of the county’s over 5,600 employees were laid off Tuesday. Eight of the terminated employees were full-time workers, while the majority were seasonal, on-call, or temporary workers.
Ninety of Portland’s 6,136 city employees subject to the vaccine mandate were fired Tuesday. According to City of Portland spokesperson Heather Hafer, the number of fully vaccinated and exempt employees is still in flux due to recent hires.
As of Monday afternoon, 47 city employees’ vaccination or exemption status was still “pending.” Update 10/20: As of Wednesday morning, 33 city employees’ vaccination or exemption status was still “pending.”
This tally does not include employees of the Portland Police Bureau, since they are uniquely exempt from the vaccine mandate. The PPB has not provided the Mercury with any information on their employee vaccination rates.
Oregon State Police (OSP), however, are required to get vaccinated or provide an exemption under Governor Kate Brown’s vaccine mandate for state employees. According to OSP, 11 of its 1,267 employees were placed on administrative leave Tuesday for not receiving a vaccine or an exemption. OSP reports that78 percent of its staff are vaccinated, 15 percent qualified for exemptions, and 7 percent submitted exemption requests that are still being reviewed.
Healthcare workers statewide also faced a vaccine mandate Monday. According to the most recent data from the Oregon Health Authority (OHA), 82 percent of healthcare workers in Multnomah County were vaccinated as of October 4. It’s unclear how many of the unvaccinated employees have secured an exemption from the vaccine mandate. The OHA will release updated numbers of how many healthcare workers are vaccinated in early November.