Marion County
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News Releases
Volunteers Recognized for Outstanding Service to Marion County - 05/27/20

The Marion County Board of Commissioners recognized six volunteers and one volunteer group at their May 27, 2020 Board Session. 

Historically, volunteers are invited to a special reception with the Board of Commissioners, followed by a public presentation of the awards. Due to COVID-19 restrictions, the 2019 volunteer awards were delivered to each recipient individually and the Commissioners celebrated their contributions with photos and a presentation at their May 27 board session.

At the meeting, Marion County Commissioners recognized 2019 volunteers within five distinct award categories: Outstanding Program/Department Volunteer, Advisory Board Volunteer of the Year, Youth Volunteer of the Year, Commissioner Mary Pearmine Volunteer Group of the Year, and the Rex Hartley Volunteer of the Year.

Three individuals were recognized for their outstanding contribution to a program, division or department. Robert Mill, of Woodburn, has been named as the Emergency Management Volunteer of the Year. Cheryl Smith-Banacka, of Aumsville, has been named as the Dog Services Volunteer of the Year for her work with the Marion County Dog Shelter. Marisol Cervantes, of Salem, has been recognized for her volunteer service with the Marion County Juvenile Department.

The Advisory Board Volunteer of the Year Award recognizes an individual for their service, leadership, and commitment to a Marion County advisory board, committee or task force. Eric Richards, a member of the Marion County Children & Families Commission, has been selected to receive this award for his volunteer service in 2019.

The Youth Volunteer Award was developed to recognize volunteer accomplishments of young people 24 years and under in county programs and departments. Guadalupe Lagunas Garcia, a volunteer with the Marion County Law Library, has been selected to receive the 2019 Youth Volunteer of the Year Award.

The Commissioner Mary Pearmine Volunteer Group of the Year Award recognizes the Woodburn Fire Fighter Rehabilitation Team for their outstanding volunteer service in 2019. Commissioner Pearmine was a champion of volunteers, and believed strongly in the power of volunteer groups. The Woodburn Fire Fighter Rehabilitation Team is being recognized for their commitment to emergency preparedness and response in North Marion County.

The Rex Hartley Volunteer of the Year award honors the late Judge and Commissioner, and recognizes one volunteer for their outstanding service to the county and the community. Julie Wallin, of Salem, has been selected to receive the 2019 Judge Rex Hartley Volunteer of the Year Award. Julie is being recognized for her unwavering commitment to the Marion County Dog Shelter, and the people and dogs the shelter serves.

For more information and photos of each of the award recipient, please visit the Marion County Volunteer Services website at www.co.marion.or.us/hr/vol.

Limited Reopening of Marion County to Begin on May 22 - 05/20/20

Salem, OR – On Wednesday, May 20, 2020, Governor Kate Brown and the Oregon Health Authority approved the Community Roadmap for a Limited Reopening of Marion County starting Friday, May 22.

The approved plan represents a collaboration with state and county health experts, local leaders, and regional public health partners. According to Commission Chair Colm Willis, “We are proud of what our communities and public health teams have accomplished to slow the spread of COVID-19. As we have all worked together to protect public health, we have also seen businesses closed and livelihoods destroyed. Our plan encourages businesses, churches, and other organizations to move forward in a limited capacity while continuing to protect the health of our community.”

Phase 1 of the approved community roadmap allows reopening of several types of businesses and services, while keeping sanitation, physical distancing, face covering, and crowd size measures in place. Eventually, phases 2 and 3 of the plan allow for increased gathering sizes and resumption of non-essential travel, nursing home and hospital visits, and additional seating at restaurants, bars, and other venues. The county is required to remain in Phase 1 for at least 21 days, and advancement to phases 2 and 3 will be allowed only if public health monitoring indicates it is safe.

Throughout reopening, anyone who feels sick should remain at home. Additionally, high-risk individuals who are over 65 years of age or suffering chronic illnesses should continue to remain home as much as possible. All businesses and organizations that choose to reopen should follow state guidelines, many of which are described in detail sector by sector. We encourage all individuals to continue to follow physical distancing guidelines.

In recognition that additional restrictions and guidelines may be needed as circumstances evolve, we remain committed to working with the Governor’s office, the Oregon Health Authority, and local health and community partners to monitor progress and refine the roadmap as needed.

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Marion County Reopening to Begin Later than Proposed - 05/14/20

Salem, OR – On Thursday, May 14, 2020, Governor Kate Brown and the Oregon Health Authority determined that Marion County’s application for a limited reopening must be deferred to a later date. While many counties across Oregon will begin reopening on May 15, others, including Marion and Polk counties, will not yet reopen. Our application will be reviewed by the state again next Wednesday.

Meanwhile, statewide and in Marion County, some stand-alone "Main Street" retail businesses, such as furniture stores, art galleries, jewelry stores, and boutiques, can reopen on May 15 if they agree to follow safety guidelines. Additionally, childcare, summer school, camps, and youth programs can reopen with specific limitations and guidelines. We also want our community to know that all county parks and boat ramps will be open for day use beginning May 15 (playgrounds will remain closed).

In response to Governor Brown’s decision, Commission Chair Colm Willis shared, “My heart goes out to all of the people who have been affected by this virus, including all of the family-owned businesses and their employees who have not had a paycheck for more than two months. We will continue to do everything we can to fight the spread of COVID-19 in our community and get the people of Marion County back to work as soon as possible.”

We remain committed to working with the Governor’s office, the Oregon Health Authority, and local health and community partners. We are reviewing the information provided by the Governor’s Office and are considering all of our options in moving forward toward timely reopening.

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Commissioners Propose Roadmap for a Limited Reopening of Marion County Beginning on May 15 - 05/06/20

Salem, OR – During its regular weekly board session on Wednesday, May 6, 2020, the Marion County Board of Commissioners will consider adopting a resolution for beginning to reopen businesses, restaurants, churches, and county parks. If adopted, Phase 1 of the community roadmap for reopening would begin on May 15. According to Commission Chair Colm Willis, “Many people in Marion County are suffering right now. This plan ensures first and foremost, the safety of the people of Marion County and fairness for our families and small businesses.”  

Working closely with our county Health and Human Services experts, local leaders, and regional public health partners, the proposed roadmap is based on the Governor’s guidelines for reopening counties across the state. Commissioner Willis adds, “In our case, the roadmap is tailored to fit the specific needs of our communities. We have worked hard with state and regional partners to prepare a thoughtful, balanced approach to supporting a safe, strong, and thriving Marion County.”

In Phase 1, the roadmap proposes reopening several types of businesses and services, keeping in place sanitation protocols and specific limits on physical distancing, face coverings, and crowd size until public health monitoring shows it is safe to move to later phases. Hospital visits will remain prohibited at this time, as will night clubs and most large venues.

Monitoring community health and safety is very important as the limited, phased reopening gets underway. Marion County Public Health Director Katrina Rothenberger is leading efforts to protect public health during the COVID-19 pandemic and observes that, “Local hospitals have ample capacity today and much more so than a few weeks ago when the virus first arrived in Oregon.” She goes on to add, “As businesses and other sectors begin to reopen, we will closely track new cases of the virus and will take immediate action if we see an unacceptable increase in new cases and hospitalizations.” Meanwhile, the roadmap has very specific details about what types of preventive measures are required for each type of business, venue, and activity.

We are committed to working with the Governor’s office, local healthcare providers, and other community partners to update and refine the roadmap as needed.

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