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Declaring a Local State of Emergency in the City of Bend

Post Date:03/13/2020 1:08 PM

NEWS RELEASE

For Immediate Release

Date: March 13, 2020

DECLARING A LOCAL STATE OF EMERGENCY IN THE CITY OF BEND AS A RESULT OF COVID-19 PANDEMIC

Bend City Manager Eric King has declared a local state of emergency as a result of the COVID-19 (novel coronavirus), which was declared a pandemic by the World Health Organization and has been confirmed in Deschutes County. Governor Kate Brown has declared a state of emergency due to the COVID-19 outbreak in Oregon.

The Bend City Council is scheduled to vote to ratify the declaration, which is in effect through at least April 15, at its meeting Wednesday.

The declaration allows more flexibility and authorization for the City Manager to take actions to help protect the health and safety of the community, through a number of means from limiting access to public places, to buying items or services related to health and safety without normal procurement procedures that can take additional time.

“We need to move fast and be nimble in our responses right now, as this is a rapidly evolving situation,” said Mayor Sally Russell. “This declaration should not inspire concern, but rather, should assure the public that the City is taking every precaution possible to prevent the spread of this virus in our community.”

“My primary focus is to restrict the spread of COVID-19 and to maintain the health of our workforce so employees can continue to provide crucial City services,” said City Manager Eric King. “I have and will continue to develop emergency policies regarding the use of sick leave, vacation leave, telecommuting, meeting protocols, and more, which will be in effect for the duration of the emergency.”

While this emergency is in place, the City will not send shut-off notices or shut off water for non-payment of unpaid water bills and will not allow any permitted special events of more than 250 people.

To eliminate exposure and spread of COVID-19, and in support of state and federal guidelines for social distancing, the City has cancelled all advisory committee meetings and public, project-specific outreach meetings or open houses. City employees are encouraged to telecommute and to conduct meetings through online conferencing tools when possible. Disinfecting and cleaning operations have increased significantly in City facilities.

Currently, scheduled City Council meetings are expected to continue, but with social distancing modifications including increased space between chairs. This results is a smaller capacity in Council Chambers. The City strongly encourages livestreaming the meeting from home through www.bendoregon.gov/councilagenda. Anyone who wishes to communicate with the Council is also welcome to email council@bendoregon.gov.


FOR INFORMATION ON COVID-19:


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To obtain this information in an alternate format such as Braille, large print, electronic formats, etc. please contact Anne Aurand at 541-388-5573 or aaurand@bendoregon.gov.

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