Health & Wellness

City leaders prioritize needs as COVID-19 timeline extends

Logan Johnson, 18, is among Creswell 76 employees wearing gloves at work.

CRESWELL — Keeping up with the latest Coronavirus news has been all-consuming for city leaders as they carve out top priorities for the community and try to anticipate future needs. 

There is a “good chance” that the Coronavirus will impact the Fourth of July Celebration, City Manager Michelle Amberg said. “Today’s projections show that COVID-19 deaths will peak in April/May and we will still see new cases until late July/August.”

The annual summer holiday parade and fireworks show, hosted by the Creswell Chamber of Commerce, draws visitors from throughout southern Oregon and is the jewel of the City’s events calendar.

“I don’t know if Gov. Kate Brown will extend the social distancing order that long,” Amberg said, “but if she does it will impact most of the summer.”

Creswell Mayor Richard Zettervall said he has been in what feels like nonstop phone conferences with the governor, the League of Oregon Cities, Lane County and City staff. 

One of the conference calls with the LOC and Gov. Brown … she suggested that all the mayors should coordinate with their city managers to create a list of priorities and to share it with their state senator and state representative,” he said.  

Zettervall said he and Amberg have developed and submitted a list of priorities to the legislature, acting on Gov. Brown’s instructions. The list prioritizes assistance to the community and its small businesses, and adherence to the Public Meetings Law.

Getting assistance for the community and for business owners is his top priority, Zettervall said.

“I am committed to as quick of a recovery as possible,” Zettervall said. “I’m going to fight as hard as I can for every dollar that is available for Creswell. Our people will need assistance with many financial issues like unemployment and other means of financial support … For small cities, (assistance) could be the difference between recovering quickly or not.” 

It’s a dizzying time for everyone, Amberg said, and single-owner businesses need to know about the assistance they can access. 

“Economic stimulus packages are being worked on at the state, county and national levels,” she said. “While these resources will most likely be available to all businesses, the entrepreneurial businesses, the very small, single-owner businesses really need to report their losses and apply for loans.”

She stressed that people should not feel discouraged if the emergency relief money runs out. 

“Keep abreast of the information and apply – that way they will have a better idea of what the need is and how to structure relief,” she said. 

Another priority for Zettervall and Amberg was ensuring the City followed Public Meetings Law, Zettervall said. He said City leaders must be sure to comply with state law during abbreviated, postponed or online meetings. 

The City meeting last week declaring a State of Emergency also dealt with how meetings would be run and what would be considered for agendas, Amberg said. “There are things that we do internally that might not be obvious and are impacted by changes in staff levels — how we do meetings has a big impact on what gets done.”

Amberg said that when the dust settles, “there will be a big ramping up period for all of us. There is a lot of work that is not going to be easy to just pick up once this is over.”



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