At least a dozen Oregon counties are preparing to submit plans to Oregon Gov. Kate Brown tomorrow for reopening nonessential businesses from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Not among them: Multnomah and Washington counties, which will instead have a conference call with Brown to discuss a metro-area reopening timeline.

The chief of staff to Washington County Chair Kathryn Harrington tells WW that the Portland area could start the first phase of reopening businesses in early June.

"The chair stated today, during the governor's  Regional Solutions meeting, that we expect the metro region to enter Phase 1 the first week of June," Elizabeth Mazzara Myers says. "Assuming, again, we can all meet the criteria levels identified."

As WW has previously reported, Brown has established seven criteria for reopening counties from her stay-home orders, including two consecutive weeks of declining COVID-19 hospitalizations.

This morning, Brown announced counties could apply May 8 and be approved to begin the first phase of reopening—including restaurant dining rooms, bars and hair salons—by May 15.

At that press conference, Oregon Health Authority director Patrick Allen said it's "safe to assume" a majority of Oregon's 36 counties will meet the criteria to open by that date.

Rob Bovett, legal counsel for the Association of Oregon Counties, says the governor's announcement set off a "flurry" of activity in county governments eager to start the clock by formally applying Friday to reopen.

"I think quite a number of our rural counties would qualify today, if they get their ducks in a row," says Bovett. "I think there's going to be a lot of send buttons pushed tomorrow."