POLK COUNTY — Open signs were on, tables and chairs — 6 feet apart — were ready for customers in restaurants and bars for the first time in weeks on Friday as Polk County was given the green light to enter Phase 1 of reopening.
Gov. Kate Brown sent a letter to the Polk County Board of Commissioners on May 20, saying that after not receiving the go-ahead for May 15, the county was now free to start reopening within state-set guidelines.
“Thank you for the effort you, your hospitals and your public health experts put into your plan for meeting prerequisites demonstrating your county’s preparedness for beginning to lift restrictions during the COVID-19 pandemic,” Brown wrote.
The letter said the Oregon Health Authority would continue to monitor the county’s progress.
“With every restriction lifted we know transmission of the virus has the potential to increase,” Brown wrote. “The contact tracing, testing and personal protective equipment requirements that were part of the conditions for opening will be essential to mitigate that transmission increase.”
Polk County Commissioner Lyle Mordhorst said he celebrated reopening by having breakfast at Washington Street Steakhouse & Pub in Dallas.
As a former manager of the Les Schwab store in West Salem, he could empathize with the stress business owners must have been experiencing. He said he had to weather economic downturns, but nothing like not being able to open our doors for weeks.
“I’m hoping we support our locally owned businesses,”
He also doesn’t want to see restrictions return and believes that most people will respect social distancing recommendations and other measures keeping others safe.
“I think the majority of us will,” he said. “I think everybody understands.”
Cities have also joined businesses in reopening city halls and other facilities.
Dallas City Hall, 187 SE Court St., is open limited hours and for in-person appointments. Call 503-623-2338 to schedule an appointment.
For outdoor recreation, all parks and trails are open with guidelines (playground structures are still closed), pickleball courts, tennis courts and the Dallas Skate Park are open.
The Dallas Aquatic Center, library, municipal court, senior center and public works shops are closed.
Dallas Public Library customers can now use curbside pickup of items place on hold. The service is currently available Monday through Friday from 10 a,m. to 2 p.m. At this time, only items that are available at the Dallas Library can be placed on hold.
Customers can search the catalog and place holds at catalog.ccrls.org. Check to make sure your hold is available before picking it up.
For more information on the pick up procedure, go to the library’s Facebook page, www.facebook.com/dallaslibraryoregon, or website at https://www.ci.dallas.or.us/102/Library. Library patrons are asked to attempt to place holds themselves due to limited staff at this time, but you can call for assistance between 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at 503-623-2633.
All business at Falls City City Hall, 299 Mill St., will continue to be conducted through a window in the foyer of the building until social distancing measures are lifted. Park structures are now open, with social distancing requirements.
“I am happy our businesses are now open, and hope that people will shop locally,” said Mayor John McArdle. “To continue to keep businesses open and to move to the next level phase, we all need to be good neighbors to keep others safe. We do this by following the rules about wearing masks and keeping 6-feet away from others in public. Consideration of others, kindness, and patience will go a long way as we move forward in reopening our community.”
City Manager Tom Pessemier said as Polk County moves into Phase 1 reopening, city facilities also will begin to reopen.
The Independence Civic Center will be open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., closed from noon to 1 p.m., Monday through Friday.
All people entering the Independence Civic Center will be required to wear a mask.
Anyone entering the building will need to do so through the Main Street entry.
The river-side entry will remain closed.
Any contact for city-related business will take place on the second-floor administration window; this will include business normally conducted on the third floor such as building permit applications and permits.
Police-related business will take place as usual at the police department window, also on the second floor.
At this time the police department is not offering fingerprint services unless it is for an essential service. Sex offender registrations will continue to be handled only by phone. We will resume walk-in records requests, dog licensing and medication disposal drop offs.
Check the city’s website for updated information throughout the process: https://www.ci.independence.or.us/
“It’s hard not to be able to make all our public spaces like the Senior Center, library, playgrounds and park restrooms, available right away,” said Mayor Cec Koontz. “We just don’t have the staffing to be able to maintain rigorous cleaning protocols, among other challenges.”
She said she knows businesses are making their own decisions about how and when to invite the public in.
“I am impressed by the precautions they are taking to ensure customer, patron and member safety,” Koontz said.
The city of Monmouth has the opportunity to begin a phased reopening of its facilities to the public. Because the differences in city operations, not all facilities will open at the same time.
All facilities will require appropriate physical distancing — 6-feet minimum — and the wearing of masks in accordance with the Oregon Health Authority guidelines. Masks are available at all city building facilities if needed. Monmouth is encouraging members of the public to continue to conduct city business using phone, email and online methods when possible.
The front lobby at Monmouth City Hall will be open from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m,, starting June 1. The office will accept in-person payments for utilities, court payments, building permits and utility applications, dog license applications, and garage sale permits. Appointments may be scheduled during other times by phone or email.
The City Municipal Court will begin regular court dates in June. Staggered appointments, with a maximum of five individuals plus the judge, attorney and court clerk for each Wednesday court date.
Monmouth Police Department will be open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday.
Monmouth Power & Light will be open from 7 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., Monday through Friday. Customer service: 503-838-3526. Utility bills should be paid online, by phone, or at City Hall, 151 Main St. W.
The library book drop at Monmouth Public Library will reopen June 1 for the return of library materials only. The Monmouth Public Works office is currently being remodeled and is closed to the public until further notice. Call 503-838-2173 for questions.
City recreation facilities, including play equipment, sports courts, picnic shelters, the dog park, and restrooms, will continue to be closed until outdoor recreation guidelines provided by the Oregon Health Authority allow them to be reopened. Outdoor spaces can be used but patrons are required to maintain appropriate physical distancing.
Monmouth Senior Center will remain closed until further notice.
For or updates: https://www.ci.monmouth.or.us/emergency.aspx