One of the state’s prerequisites for each county being allowed to reopen from the Covid-19 shutdowns is that they can provide accommodations for those who test positive for the virus and do not have a safe, stable place to self‐isolate.
In its original draft reopening plan, Clackamas County listed one such location, the Alton Collins Retreat Center in Eagle Creek, along with six more “potential sites” that could provide housing for more than 300 individuals, if needed.
One of the locations listed as a potential site for housing Covid-positive residents was The Grove Camp & Retreat Center in Canby, also known as Canby Grove.
That came as news to The Grove. Its executive director, Dana Shaffer, told the Canby Now Podcast this week that they had no idea the county was considering their facilities for such a use.
“Canby Grove has not been in touch with the county and has no plans to take on Covid-19 patients,” he said.
The news that the Christian summer camp and retreat center might be converted into a sort of sickbay for coronavirus patients had surprised and concerned some staff members, as well as Outdoor School participants who have used the grounds in the past.
County spokesman Dylan Blaylock said it was true that staff had not reached out to The Grove to discuss its facilities being used as an isolation site, but explained that it was not necessary to do so at this stage.
“It was simply listed as a potential site,” he said. “It’s not saying we are definitely moving in there. Prior to anything like that, we would obviously coordinate with them and see if it was a possibility.”
If the parties wished to move forward, Blaylock said, county staff would work with The Grove to develop a plan and agree to a memorandum of understanding, similar to what’s been done at Alton Collins.
Locations that agree to serve as isolation sites do receive compensation for the use of their facilities. County staff told commissioners during a hearing this week that the Oregon Health Authority has pledged more than $10 million to counties for this purpose.
Blaylock also said that the table listing potential sites had been removed from the final plan that was submitted to the governor’s office for review, since the information had caused confusion, and wasn’t technically required in the first place.
Photo courtesy The Grove Camp & Retreat Center.