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People are crowding Portland parks despite social distance mandate

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After a cloudy start to spring the sun is finally coming out, tempting Portlanders to crowd public parks, a trend that has raised concerns about Oregon’s ability to slow the spread of the coronavirus through social distancing.

After a warm and sunny Sunday, reports came in from around the city that throngs of people crowded parks, bike paths and sidewalks, making the mandatory six feet of social distance – required by Oregon Gov. Kate Brown at all public spaces – an extremely difficult task.

David Coseo, who lives next to the northern entrance of Mt. Tabor Park, said he saw roughly 100 people pass by his house in an hour Sunday. That included runners, cyclists, families and large groups of people, often clustered close together.

“It’s sad, frustrating and frightening,” Coseo said. “Some few people were at least wearing masks. But most seem oblivious to the fact that they are walking through a constant cloud of exhaled breath.”

Jonathan Maus, publisher of Bike Portland, reported crowds of people at outdoor spaces across the city Sunday, including the Eastbank Esplanade, Mt. Tabor and neighborhood streets in North and Northeast Portland.

Oregon is nearing its peak for the novel coronavirus, updated projections from University of Washington researchers show. It’s more evidence that by following Gov. Kate Brown’s social distancing restrictions, Oregonians have helped the state escape the worst of the global pandemic – as long as people continue to stay home, Rob Davis reported Monday for The Oregonian/OregonLive.

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