City Government Actions

***On Wednesday, June 30, 2021, all remaining COVID-19 health and safety restrictions will be lifted by the Governor. As of July 12, some City offices are open to the public and City Council meetings will be held in person. This website will be kept live as an archive of actions taken during the COVID-19 pandemic.***

City Government’s Coronavirus Response

City Offices
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.
 
Unhoused Resident Response
We have a dedicated page detailing the City’s support, both financial and services, for unhoused residents.    
 
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
 
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.

Zagster Bike Share
Our partners at Zagster who provide the bike share program around Ashland has paused there service meaning turning off access to the app for riders and pausing any recurring billing at this time. Click here for more information.

Ashland Fiber Network Offers Free Education Access Again
With schools being changed to online or hybrid learning formats, Ashland Fiber Network (AFN) 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 or call (541) 552-2222 to sign up. See the full news release here
 
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
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.

ACCESS was awarded over $3.3 million for COVID-19 rental relief assistance and $770,867 for energy assistance. The funding for rental relief and energy assistance is for anyone at or below 80 percent of the area median income residing in Jackson County. Information regarding these programs and how to apply can be found here.

Please contact ACCESS to apply for these programs if you are in need of rental support or need help paying for your utility bills. You can reach them at (541) 414-0308 for rental support, (541) 779-9020 for energy assistance, or at www.accesshelps.org

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.
 
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/parkingRead 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.
 
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. 
 
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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