Community leaders offer updates, resources
Canby leaders took to Facebook Live for the second week in a row to provide updates to the community on the COVID-19 crisis.
Coming from every sector of the community, the leaders included Mayor Brian Hodson, Canby Fire Division Chief Matt English, Police Chief Bret Smith, Interim City Administrator Amanda Zeiber, Canby Schools Superintendent Trip Goodall, Canby Chamber Director Kyle Lang and Canby Foursquare Pastor Ron Swor.
They gathered Wednesday, April 1, at Canby Foursquare Church, keeping their distance and cleaning the microphone and podium with disinfectant wipes between each speaker.
Each of them provided information on how their group is handling the COVID-19 pandemic, and all ended their messages with a similar plea asking the community to abide by Gov. Kate Brown's executive order and stay home to help stop spread of the virus.
"As we remain cooped up in our homes, as spring arrives and we have better weather, it's a tendency for all of us to want to maybe relax a little bit and kind of forget what that executive order is intended to communicate to us," Smith said, "and we put ourselves in positions that might expose us or others. And we want to remember to stay diligent and vigilant in our efforts."
City of Canby
Mayor Hodson led off the event. He said the leaders have committed to providing these updates every week or as needed.
He also praised his fellow leaders and encouraged residents to listen to what they were about to say.
"It is truly unprecedented what we're dealing with," Hodson said, "and I am proud to be here on the state with a great group of leaders that were proactive and continue to be proactive regarding Canby's safety and our overall health as a community. So, please listen to what they have to say. Please take it to heart."
Interim Administrator Zeiber spoke later in the lineup to provide specific information from the city. She said city offices and facilities would remain closed to the public through April, with staff working remotely. Some essential staff members will be out in the community to collect garbage and remove storm debris from parks and cemeteries.
She reminded the community that park facilities, including restrooms and playground equipment, are closed for use, but she noted the parks themselves are open.
"You might not see us out as much or come into our facilities, but I assure you that we are here," Zeiber said. "We are working, and we are available to help you or assist you in any way. So definitely feel free to reach out to us."
Division Chief English told the community that the fire district board declared a state of emergency for the district's 54 square miles, including Canby and Barlow.
He said first responders are training each morning on updated protocols, special orders and updated practices.
"These updates are determined by the data delivered by the hospitals and the first responders to determine the safest treatment that we can provide for our community," English said. "We're using extreme caution when we're entering facilities with a vulnerable population to ensure that no exposure happens to the patient, to residents of the facility or to our crews."
English also suggested connecting with neighbors and family even during this time of isolation and to watch out for those who may need help. He said to not only practice physical distancing, but to use other safe habits as well, to prevent injury.
"Now's not the time for us to head to the ER for that," he said, "so we need to be safe."
Visit canbyfire.org for daily updates.
Canby Police are out patrolling 24 hours a day, seven days a week, Chief Smith said. In the event of an emergency, of course, call 911, as the county dispatch system is fully operational.
However, the department is making some changes amid the epidemic.
"If officers have the opportunity, they're going to do a telephone report," Smith said. "And if there is a one-on-one contact that needs to be made, we'll evaluate that at the time and try to do that safely."
He encouraged citizens and business leaders to lock doors and keep valuables safe to avoid theft.
Superintendent Goodall informed the community that, according to Oregon Department of Education Director Colt Gill, it's possible students may not return to school this year.
"That decision is made by the governor, and we must follow those directives," Goodall said. "No decision has been made at this time, but it's important that we prepare for that possibility."
Canby School District, along with every other district in the state, is doing just that. ODE directed districts to come up with a "distance learning for all" plan by April 13. Canby had prepared supplemental resources based on the previous direction and is now working on a full-on distance learning plan. Goodall said district staff would communicate that plan to families as soon as possible.
In the meantime, teachers have been reaching out to students and families to connect and determine who has access to the internet and devices for learning.
Additionally, the school district has been providing meals at various schools, and last week, they began delivering meals using district buses.
On the first day of the bus program, the district delivered 1,302 meals to community kids. Goodall said that was 816 more meals than the previous high.
Chamber Director Lang thanked Canby's businesses for being responsible during this time. He said the chamber has COVID-19 resources available on its website at canbyareachamber.com.
Lang encouraged the community to look out for the welfare of businesses and citizens, and he offered a creative way to do so.
"This is a moment where the community truly comes together for the aide of all," Lang said. "If you want to support local businesses as well as your local citizens, consider buying gift cards and donating them to a church, to a food bank, to a local not-for-profit that deals with family needs. In that way, you're supporting two levels of our community — both the business environment as well as the citizen environment."
Canby Foursquare Pastor Swor spoke on behalf of the faith-based community, noting that they care not only for residents' physical wellbeing but also their spiritual wellbeing.
He offered several tips to help people cope during this time including resting, unplugging, staying connected with others online and filtering out nonessential aspects of life.
Swor also warned of a potential danger that comes along with isolation: domestic violence.
"If you're out there and you're hearing this, and you feel like you're in a vulnerable or dangerous situation, would you please reach out?" Swor said. "Call a church, call a friend, call an individual. Do not do this alone. We want you to know that we're there and we are available, and we do want to help you if you feel like you're in a situation that's dangerous."
Canby Foursquare's phone number is 503-266-4444.
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