Alert: As of July 15, face masks will be required in outdoor public spaces where physical distancing is not possible. This is in addition to masks being required for all indoor public spaces effective July 1. Get more updates, cancelations, and resources related to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) here
 

City Government Actions

City Government’s Coronavirus Response

State of Oregon COVID-19 Emergency Business Grant Program
The City of Ashland was awarded matching funds from the Oregon Business Development Department (Business Oregon) to facilitate a COVID-19 Emergency Business Grant program with $140,000 available for small businesses and non-profits that ended on July 8, 2020. If you are interested in possible regional grants that might be available, please contact Natalie Thomason at natalie.thomason@ashland.or.us.
 
State of Emergency Declared
City Council declared a State of Emergency on March 17. The City is operating an ongoing Emergency Management Organization to manage the COVID-19 epidemic response. On March 25, 2020, Mayor Stromberg gave a message encouraging Ashland to "Stay Home, Save Lives". Listen to the message here.
 
Unhoused Resident Response
We have a dedicated page detailing the City’s support, both financial and services, for unhoused residents.   
 
Utility Billing, Lodging, and Food and Beverage Tax Adjustments
The following adjustments have been made, effective April 22, 2020:
Utility customers will not be charged late fees for past due balances through June 30.
Utility customers will not be disconnected for late or non-payment through June 30.
Bill payment plans will be extended beyond the three-month policy timeframe (see the COVID-19 Utility Deferral Application below).
The current due date for TOT (Lodging Tax) of April 25 will be extended to August 1.
The current due date for Food and Beverage Tax of April 30 will be extended to August 1.

Starting June 1, customers may submit a COVID-19 Utility Deferral Application for past due City utility accounts. Utility accounts with delinquent amounts owed can apply to have those delinquent charges deferred based on two payment plan options (six or twelve months repayment plans). To continue to qualify for deferment, applicants must pay the approved amount by the monthly due date or risk being removed from the program. Additionally, any account older than 3 months that has a deposit on file can choose that have that deposit applied immediately towards the utility account balance.

 An approved and active application means that the City will not shut off the water or electrical services and/or will not bill late charges related to delinquent billings after June 30. 

Applications are due by June 30 at 5 p.m. to utilitybilling@ashland.or.us or via physical mail to:
City of Ashland
20 E. Main Street
Ashland, OR 97520

We recognize this is a difficult time for citizens and businesses. Contact utilitybilling@ashland.or.us or call (541) 488-6004 to talk about payment plans. We have no relief funds available for waiving utility fees; your payments keep these services running. CARES Act payments to citizens were earmarked by Congress in part for utility bill payments.   
 
Ashland Fiber Network Offers Free Education Access
While schools are closed during the school year, Ashland Fiber Network (AFN) and Ashland Home Network (AHN) will provide FREE cable modem service at 30 Mbps for all K-12 & college students and staff who are not currently (or within the past 30 days) AFN customers. During this time, activation fees will be waived, and a cable modem will be provided.  See ashlandfiber.net/sign-up or call (541) 552-2222. Alternately, see ashlandhome.net/contact.asp or call (541) 488-9207.
 
Business Assistance 
In addition to easing the utility payment schedules for resident and business customers, the City has been involved with the development, funding and active support for local economic assistance and recovery. As a strong partner to the Ashland Chamber of Commerce, the City has been in regular communication with businesses, the Chamber, and our state and federal elected officials who are working tirelessly to secure and delivery economic relief for businesses in the community.

City Finances
The City is gathering information regarding the likely fiscal shortfall the City will experience in order to take action to address that shortfall. Parks and Recreation recently announced six layoffs and plans are in development at the City of Ashland to address the financial reality of the COVID-19 situation. Click here for the Financial Update Presentations and Council Communications
 
Downtown Parking Enforcement
In July, parking enforcement downtown resumed. Discounted hourly and monthly parking permits are available for the Hargadine Parking Structure (between Pioneer and First Streets). For more information, go to ashland.or.us/parking. Read the full news release here.

On April 3, parking enforcement downtown was eased to enforce only safety issues, such as, blocking hydrants, parking in crosswalks, etc.
 
Following the Governor’s Executive Order – City Operations
City offices have closed to the public, but operations are continuing via phone, email, and limited appointments. Staffing and continuity of operations plans are in place for critical services like fire, police, water, electric, internet and wastewater. Parks and Recreation Commission has closed some facilities and will be reopening them based on the Governor's orders. City field operations staff monitor and comply with social distancing and other public health best practices as they continue to carry out their essential services to the community.

Public Outreach and Communications
The City has a dedicated Public Information Officer (PIO) supporting the coronavirus response. City Staff contribute to public messages, news releases, and web content. A dedicated website (ashland.or.us/coronavirus) houses all City news and links to partners working on various aspects of community response and recovery. Nixle community alert messages have been sent to all contacts (voice, text, email) in our system, updating residents on the situation and delivering an address from Ashland Mayor John Stromberg.  

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