Stay home. Save lives.
That was the message from Mayor Brian Hodson, Canby Fire Chief Jim Davis and other city leaders this week, as they came together to share critical information about the impacts of the coronavirus pandemic and the local response.
The virtual town hall meeting of sorts was hosted at Canby Foursquare Church and broadcast via CTV and Facebook Live. It also included Police Chief Bret Smith, Interim City Administrator Amanda Zeiber and School Superintendent Trip Goodall.
The same information was presented in Spanish the following night by Canby Police Lt. Jose Gozalez and Canby firefighter and EMT Julio Quevedo. Leaders say similar Facebook Live presentations will be offered each week to update residents with the latest.
While sharing important information, most leaders also took the opportunity to plead with residents to follow the statewide social distancing and stay-at-home guidelines put in place by Oregon Gov. Kate Brown.
Here’s Mayor Hodson.
Locally, Canby Fire, Canby Police and other agencies have activated an Emergency Operations Center at the fire district’s headquarters on South Pine Street.
Police and fire are working together to respond to emergency calls, and may be wearing personal protective equipment (PPE) as needed to protect themselves and others.
“Canby police is here to stay during this time of uncertainty,” Chief Smith assured viewers on Wednesday. “We are not going anywhere.”
Police will continue to respond to 911 calls. Many reports will be taken by phone, he said, but in-person responses will occur when they are warranted.
Chief Smith said his officers do technically have the authority to enforce the governor’s executive orders, including making arrests or issuing citations. Violating a governor’s orders during a state of emergency would constitute a class C misdemeanor.
“All Oregon law enforcement are unified, however, on the premise that such police action is undesirable,” he said.
Canby Community Park, also known as River Park, was closed to motor vehicle traffic this week, with the access road being gated off. Zeiber said the decision was made, quote, to “support social distancing.”
All playgrounds and public restrooms at park facilities have also been closed, while all city parks and trails remain open to pedestrians on foot.
Zeiber said the city council meeting this Wednesday will go forward as planned, with community members being invited to watch and participate virtually.
Major city projects that were in progress, including the new splash pad at Maple Street Park, the new traffic light at the entrance to the Fred Meyer complex and the quiet zone in downtown Canby, are all still making headway, Zeiber said, with all efforts being made to maintain the timelines that were already in place.
“We’re doing as much as we can remotely,” she said Wednesday.
Chief Davis, of the fire district, said the current crisis is unlike anything he has seen in his almost half-a-century of experience in the emergency service.
But, “we will unite as a community and overcome this,” he concluded, “as we always have, because Canby cares.”
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