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Mayor makes declaration on Tuesday, allowing the city flexibility in adopting emergency measures

GRAPHIC FILE PHOTO - The city of Newberg declared a state of emergency Tuesday in response to the COVID-19 outbreak.

The city of Newberg has declared a state of emergency in response to the growing COVID-19 pandemic.

Mayor Rick Rogers made the declaration on Tuesday following a vote by the Newberg City Council on Monday evening at its regularly scheduled meeting. The state of emergency will remain in place until April 13, officials said.

"The city of Newberg chose to declare a state of emergency in response to state-mandated closures and expected local economic impacts resulting from the continued spread of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19)," Rogers wrote in an email.

He explained that the declaration allows the city and the city manager flexibility in adopting emergency changes to delivery of service, work policies and in allocating resources in response to the viral scare.

"A declaration allows the city to take steps to promote public health, including videoconference city council meetings and committee meetings and promoting social distancing by limiting access to public buildings," Rogers said.

In addition, the declaration paves the way for the city to potentially access state and federal emergency funds should they become available.

"The city of Newberg is making all decisions regarding COVID-19 with our most vulnerable populations in mind," Rogers said. "We know that residents of Newberg will face this crisis with compassion and a community mentality."

The nuts-and-bolts of the emergency declaration is that all non-essential city commissions, committees, task forces and city events will be cancelled until April 13. The declaration also allows City Manager Dan Weinheimer to issue emergency rules and guidance to employees on the use of sick leave, remote work and other policies, a release from the city said.

Precautionary measures adopted by the city include closing the public library through April 3 and asking that patrons not return items before then and that due dates for materials have been pushed to April 15; Newberg Municipal Court will reschedule all court dates that were slated for March 24 and March 31, although citations are not being dismissed; the Public Safety Building is closed to the public – non-emergency calls should be made to 503-538-8321; the city will not disconnect water service for non-payment, but customers will remain responsible for accrued utility charges; the city is asking that court and utility payments be made via a dropbox in the parking lot of the Public Safety Building or online at the city's website; the city public works department buildings are closed to drop-in visitors, although visitors can schedule an appointment and deliveries are restricted to scheduled vendors.

The city is monitoring developments at the county and state levels and will announce updates and new measures via its website at HYPERLINK "http://www.NewbergOregon.gov/COVID-19" www.NewbergOregon.gov/COVID-19, as well as via its Facebook and Twitter pages. It is encouraging residents to address their concerns and questions to officials via phone or email, rather than in person.

"The city asks that all residents remain calm during this time and do their part to increase social distancing," the release said. "There are many populations vulnerable to this disease and the city makes all decisions with these populations in mind.

"We ask that the citizens of Newberg be thoughtful in purchases and decisions as well combat this crisis."


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