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Parks district closes multiple attractions to follow state mandate and encourage social distancing

JASON CHANEY - Playgrounds are included in recent parks district closures.

Community leaders and organizations have responded to the recent stay-at-home mandate issued by Gov. Kate Brown on Monday.

Local law enforcement has reached out to the public to both reinforce the call to stay home and to explain how personnel will respond to people who are not complying with the executive order. In addition, the Crook County Parks and Recreation District announced multiple closures with the intent of encouraging proper social distancing.

In a joint letter to the public, Crook County Sheriff John Gautney and Prineville Police Chief Dale Cummins urged people not to panic, but to comply with the social distancing mandates and slow the number of people getting sick.

"We can still be outside and enjoy our outdoors, even if we can't camp in designated campgrounds," the letter states. "The (governor's executive) order specifically states, 'Individuals may go outside for recreational activities, but must limit those activities to non-contact and are prohibited from engaging in outdoor activities where it is not possible to maintain appropriate social distancing.' In other words, enjoy the outdoors, just don't go have parties. Go shopping for necessities, get medications and hang out with family at home."

The letter goes on to say that local deputies and offices are taking the approach of education. If they see violations of the order, they will remind them comply.

"We can issue citations, but it will absolutely be a last resort," Gautney and Cummins stated. "Our goal is that our community will be responsible and stay positive as we deal with this new reality together."

The letter went on to stress that local law enforcement is still providing service to the citizens and patrolling the community. While doing so, they are prioritizing calls for service and responding immediately to high priority calls and handling low priority calls by phone if at all possible.

Duane Garner, executive director of Crook County Parks and Recreation District, announced multiple closures following Brown's executive order. The district is closing all playground equipment areas, the skate park, outdoor sports courts and campgrounds.

Ochoco Lake Campground and Haystack Reservoir West Shore will be closed for overnight camping. Crook County RV Park will remain open for existing monthly guests, but no new guests will be approved for occupancy.

The parks district has also closed its main office, its maintenance office and RV office to walk-in traffic, but the offices will remain operational. Additionally, Ochoco Gym and Juniper Art Guild are closed as are any other indoor recreational facilities.

Though all current district-operated classes and programs are suspended, people can register online or call the district office to register for summer classes.

"At this time, all day-use park areas will remain open for public use," Garner wrote. "CCPRD strongly encourages people to exercise social distancing as recommended by state and local health authorities."

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