Hillsboro encourages remote participation in city council meeting
Following advisories from public health officials to not gather in large groups due to the spread of the novel coronavirus, the city of Hillsboro is encouraging the public to participate in its regular Tuesday, March 17, City Council meeting remotely.
The city announced Tuesday it plans to shut down all city facilities and operations except for essential services such as emergency response, utility services, public works, and capital and development services starting Wednesday. The closure will continue through March 31, and the city will evaluate next steps before that date, according to a statement from the city.
Several changes have been implemented for the meeting to help prevent the spread of the coronavirus. At the meeting, the City Council will consider declaring a state of emergency.
If the City Council passes a resolution declaring a state of emergency, it would last for two weeks. The declaration allows the city to create an emergency management agency that will coordinate with other local and state agencies for emergency response. It also allows the city manager to limit the number of people who can congregate in public areas and redirect city funds for emergency response.
Other cities are taking similar action.
The city of Cornelius announced it will hold an emergency meeting at 6 p.m. Tuesday in the Cornelius Public Library to consider declaring a state of emergency.
The city of Banks will hold an emergency meeting at 4 p.m. on Wednesday at City Hall to consider an emergency declaration as well.
The city of Forest Grove declared a state of emergency at its meeting Monday. States of emergency have already been declared at the state and county levels.
As usual, audio of Hillsboro's Tuesday meeting at 7 p.m. will be broadcast live on Tualatin Valley Community TV channel 30.
People who do not have access to a TV or the internet, where the meeting can be live-streamed, may attend in person, but they will be asked to sit six feet apart in the Hillsboro Civic Center Auditorium, per recommendations from health officials, said Aubrey Minear, deputy city recorder.
"I have my Lysol wipes and hand sanitizer pump so I'll have a kind of sanitizing station," Minear said. "We are trying to encourage people to listen in on channel 30 on TVCTV, email in your comments, but we do realize that there are always individuals that just don't have access to those types of things so they're always welcome to come in."
Only Mayor Steve Callaway, City Manager Robby Hammond, Minear and a TVCTV employee will be present for the meeting in the auditorium in order to meet public meeting laws, Minear said. City councilors will call into the meeting and conduct business via teleconference.
Supervised play will not be offered at the meeting.
A work session scheduled immediately before the meeting has been canceled.
The meeting will not be video recorded because there will be no presentations by city staff or others, Minear said. People who tune into the meeting will see the city's logo and hear the audio from the meeting.
On Monday, Gov. Kate Brown suspended gatherings of more than 25 people statewide.
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