West Linn declares state of emergency
The City of West Linn has declared a state of emergency in response to COVID-19, the respiratory disease caused by the novel coronavirus, and its many repercussions. The West Linn City Council approved the declaration at an emergency meeting Thursday, March 19.
City staff and legal counsel recommended the declaration as a means for the city to access emergency funds, and give the council expanded power that may be necessary over the coming weeks.
Over the past two weeks, the country, state, Clackamas County and several of West Linn's neighboring cities have also declared emergencies because of COVID-19. According to city staff, the declaration is set to expire April 30, but may be extended if necessary.
As part of its emergency actions, the council also adopted moratoriums on residential and commercial evictions within West Linn.
City Attorney Tim Ramis explained to the council that Oregon's Supreme Court Chief Justice had already effectively prohibited all evictions within the state until March 27. He said that state officials were also considering extending the action, though some cities have already established their own eviction moratoriums.
In a unanimous vote, the council expressed its resolve to protect West Linn residents and business owners as people across the country lose wages or jobs and businesses close their doors.
During Thursday's meeting, Councilor Bill Relyea suggested the city use this time to hire an emergency operations manager for the next six months.
Relyea noted anomalies in the city's current emergency management plan, specifically with the stipulated reporting authority. He said he'd like to have an emergency manager on hand for the coming months, so that the police chief, city manager and councilors don't have to be pulled away from their regular duties to handle all aspects of the crisis.
The rest of the council seemed to agree with Relyea that adding an emergency operations manager would be worth examining. Interim City Manager John Williams said that staff would look further into the idea.
The council also implored the people of West Linn to practice social distance by staying at home except for when necessary.
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