City leaders in Cottage Grove have taken a series of actions to mitigate the impact of the virus and support local business. DANA MERRYDAY/PHOTO

COTTAGE GROVE - So how does it feel to live under a state of emergency? 

During its Monday, April 13 virtual meeting, the City Council voted to hand over certain powers normally requiring council approval to City Manager Richard Meyers. 

In some ways it is just a formality. The Lane County Commission had already made an emergency declaration on March 17, which the city has been operating under since then. The council decision allows the manager to take necessary actions in areas of curfews, suspending certain adopted resolutions, and applying for emergency relief from state and federal agencies.

There also was an appeal to refrain from burning tree debris until at least mid-May. The rationale was to consider the right to breathe by those who may be struggling with COVID-19 symptoms.

It is not an attempt to restrict personal liberties of what you can do in your backyard. If the smoke would stay on your property, you could enjoy it all to yourself however, it tends to spread out past property lines.

As an alternative, the city is offering two curbside limb pickups. The first is scheduled to start May 6, and the second on May 20. Place limbs up to four inches in diameter (any length) away from intersections curbside, with butt end pointing in the direction of flow of traffic.

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In another virtual meeting the Board of Directors of Bohemia Mining Days had to make the hard decision regarding its annual celebration this year. 

Incoming BMD Board President Don Williams had this to say: “Our decision to cancel BMD 2020 came after much soul searching and examining the facts with a cloudy crystal ball. We now look forward to BMD 2021 and offer our prayers and blessings to our sponsors, volunteers and festival-goers for a speedy end to this shared nightmare.”

According to Williams, besides the uncertainty of the times, the main factor in the decision was a polling of the traditional sponsors, vendors, and participants. For instance, the amusement company that normally provides the carnival rides declined to commit. 

“We can sympathize with our usual sponsors,” he said. “They are local businesses and they are being hit very hard right now. Instead of committing money that they aren’t even sure they will have to a festival that might not be even allowed to happen, they have to focus on making it through this.”

These considerations would be weighing on festival goers’ minds as well.

Fortunately, there are sponsors who were willing and able to let their contributions stand, giving the organization the money for administrative tasks this year to ensure the future of the festival. They are: Banner Bank, CG Community Foundation (Kris Woodard Fund), Emerald People’s Utility District, Lane Electric Cooperative, Pacific Power, and Umpqua Bank. A big thanks and hats off to these organizations to help ensure that BMD will be there for us when it is safe to come out and play!

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There is another prong on the fork for supporting local restaurants that comes from the Main Street program. They have a promotion going for 10 $25 gift certificates good at local restaurants. Options range from the “Spice of India” to McDonald’s. It’s titled “Safely Support your Local Restaurants.” Here’s all you have to do:

Follow the protocol for safely ordering food from a local business and either snap a selfie with a carryout or delivery order or a picture of your delicious food and let everyone know where it came from.

Post the photo on the Cottage Grove Chamber of Commerce Facebook page and you are entered to win.

The law of averages is in effect, so the more posts you have the better the chances are to win. If you have difficulties in posting, then message the Main Street program coordinator. Let’s help keep our hard-working hospitality businesses here for the better days. 

The offer runs through April, the drawing will be May Day at 2 p.m. You must be entered to win.

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The Cottage Grove Rotary Club held its first virtual meeting. If you are at all familiar with this organization, you will know that the social aspect of gathering weekly for lunch is one of its attractions. With the social distancing rules in effect they haven’t been able to meet and it has weighed on members. So on Thursday at the usual meeting time, a number of club members joined via video conference for fellowship and good Rotary spirit. Some had their lunch as they met. There were a variety of settings, many of the Rotarians choosing to be outside taking in the warm, beautiful weather.

There was some getting used to the format and how to respond to each other but the main topic of the meeting was what could be done to help the community in these times. One need that came up was that of volunteers for Community Sharing.

Many of the regular folks are having to sit out due to their heightened risk of infection. Director Mike Fleck made the appeal for help and emphasized that they have put in place many safeguards and they are moving to no-contact delivery where clients can call in their needs and have the box delivered. 

It is hoped that the new format will help the Rotary Club keep its connections and help develop new avenues of community service. There also is learning involved, teaching new tricks to anyone set in their ways. Until we meet face-to-face again!

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Last week it was 50 years since Apollo 13 splashed down safely. While then only three men’s lives were on the line, that event seems similar to the mood we are experiencing now. There is a common feeling of preserving life in face of an unprecedented challenge. Then, as now, bold moves had to be figured out on the fly to try and get the astronauts safely home. And so our leaders face the same questions, how to get us all safely through this. It is my sincere hope that we will rise to the occasion the same as the engineers and flight directors at NASA did then.

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On a sad note, Cottage Grove lost a gracious and talented member of the community on April 10. 

Susan “Sujo” Tryk passed away while in hospice care. She was a wonderful artist and art was in her veins. Her mother Helen Tryk was a professional artist working in ceramics, oils, and as a commercial fashion artist. She brought daughter Sue and son Ed, settling at Dorena Lake. She became one of the area’s first art teachers.

Sujo became a first-rate artist in her own right and was active in organizing local artists into the Cottage Grove Art Guild. The Guild worked to support artists and was constantly seeking to establish gallery space where local artists could display and sell their art.

Another quality of Sujo was her willingness to lend her talents to local causes. She donated art toward saving the Dr. Pierce’s Barn, The Chambers Railroad Bridge, The Carousel, and the Swinging Bridge.

We will miss your talented contributions, your kindness, and gentle grace. Your art will live on as well as our memories of you we carry in our hearts. Prayers and peace to your family.

You can contact Dana at [email protected]