I want to you to know the importance of the Governor's "Stay Home/Save Lives” order that was issued on Monday. This whole COVID-19 is very strange, it can seem like a nightmare from which we all wish we could escape. But it isn't, and we can't.
The danger is that there become so many ill from the virus that need serious medical attention that they swamp our system, also forcing out the 'normal' patients who find themselves there at this unfortunate point in time.
It is our job to deflect that surge by stifling the spread of this invisible threat among us.
You know the drill: hand washing, elbow coughing, surfacing cleaning, and six-foot distancing. The trick now is to translate that into a home-bound life, only venturing out for supplies, exercise or to help our neighbors. Regardless of the big picture issues; regardless of what information is true and what is false, we together have to contain the virus. We must create new lives until we stifle the disease.
This a challenge to our community and one that will become part of its history, maybe an important turning point. And I want to tell you that we're not alone. Led by City staff Kelly Madding and Adam Hanks and the Emergency Operations Team, the City has been reorganizing itself to be able to continue providing the essential services all our lives here depend on: fire, police, water, waste water, electricity, broadband and so forth.
In the meantime, they've also been collaborating with community partners and Representative Pam Marsh to provide food and shelter for our local homeless citizens, whose seven night, one site winter shelter just ended its season.
And on-going relationship between the City and the Chamber of Commerce has helped Senators Merkley and Wyden shape the huge funding bill that just passed Congress - which I am pleased to announce contains $350 billion for such purposes as "fully forgivable loans to small businesses" and for which many of our locals will be at the front of the line to apply, and all because of the foresight of the Chamber and City.
So I can't guarantee a comfortable or even safe future, but what I can say is there is a lot of community spirit rising to the challenge. And I couldn't imagine a place I'd rather be than this town, working together on what some day may be known as the birth of a new Ashland.