Creswell's annual Fourth of July Celebration has been canceled, Chamber of Commerce president Raina Napper announced via an email tonight.

"It is with great regret and sorrow that the Chamber board of directors must announce the cancellation of the annual Creswell 4th of July celebration," she wrote in an email. "Due to the COVID-19 pandemic we have no choice but to take this drastic step. The well-being and safety of our community members is paramount. At this time we want to thank all our annual sponsors, our volunteers, and the support of our community. This event could not happen without all of you."

Napper had announced on April 3 that the annual citywide yard sale, an event that drew visitors to Creswell from the entire southern Willamette Valley, would be canceled. The community yard sale would have taken place this past Mother's Day weekend. The Chamber president also announced on April 3 that its Oregon Ave. office was closed as of April 1, and staff was temporarily laid off.

The Chamber relies on revenue from the Transient Room Tax (TRT), a surcharge on tourist dollars, for most of its budget. It also generates revenue from fundraisers as part of the citywide yard sale, annual awards banquet, Fourth of July Celebration, and a winter holiday "lights" event.

Stay-at-home orders and the closure or limits on dining-room service has brought tourism to a virtual halt, and the Chamber's budget has felt the consequences, Napper said.

Napper had previously announced the cancellation of the Chamber's annual awards banquet, where volunteers, businesses, community leaders and student scholarship winners are recognized. Chamber board members decided to solicit public input for the awards, and had planned to announce winners even without the banquet.

Look for further reporting in The Chronicle and on chronicle1909.com as this story continues to unfold.