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Organizers expected about 10,000 people to attend the event on Saturday, March 14.

PMG FILE PHOTO - Hillsboro's St. Patricks Day Parade was the longest-running in the state.

After over 40 years in the community, for the first time ever, the Murphy's St. Patrick's Day Parade in Hillsboro has been canceled this year due to concerns over the spread of the new coronavirus disease, also known as COVID-19.

Kathy Murphy with Murphy's Furniture in Cornelius said it wasn't an easy decision. Murphy and her sister, Kathy, have been monitoring the virus since the beginning of February and had hoped not to have to cancel the event.

As time went on, Murphy saw that two larger St. Patrick's Day parades were canceled in Dublin and Boston. That's when she seriously started thinking about cancelling the parade in Hillsboro, she said.

"The big thing is that it wasn't a controlled environment," said Murphy. "With even the slightest chance that we could be in some way contributing to somebody getting this — it just was just the best thing that we could think of."

About 10,000 people were expected at the event.

Thought to be the longest-running St. Patrick's Day parade in the state, the parade was originally started by Kathy Murphy's mother, Ruth Murphy. She said her mother started the parade as a joint project with the Hillsboro Chamber of Commerce as a way to promote local businesses during a downturn in the economy.

"It's just so sad," said Murphy. She added that in years past, "not even sleet, ice, wind, rain or snow could stop the parade" — until now.

Statewide, health officials say 15 people in Oregon have tested positive for COVID-19, with a new case announced in Multnomah County on March 10.

On Sunday, March 8, state and health officials confirmed one case involves a student from a Hillsboro middle school.

Murphy plans to continue the parade next year and hopes the cancellation means everyone else can stay healthy and attend, too. Any proceeds still acquired from the parade will be donated to the Boys & Girls Clubs of America.

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