March 17, 2020

Greetings members of the Stevenson Community. The City of Stevenson is taking steps to contain the spread of coronavirus as well as preparing for further actions as they are needed. We understand and empathize with the growing anxiety and uncertainty of how, or when, the disease will evolve in our region and what the response will be if an outbreak does occur here.

Our priority is continuing to serve our residents by ensuring the City remains open and operational with appropriate measures in place to protect the health of our employees and the community. City Hall is still open, but we would like to limit face to face meetings. Payments can be dropped in the slot outside the door or we can provide curbside service by calling 509-427-5970. The city website ci.stevenson.wa.us also has a link for you to pay your bill or access other information.

The City continues to closely monitor the ongoing coronavirus outbreak and implement appropriate actions in response to this rapidly changing issue. We are following the lead and guidance of Skamania County Public Health and working alongside Skamania County Emergency Management and surrounding partner municipalities to implement coordinated response and communication. We are participating in regular updates, currently Monday-Friday, and those updates will be posted to the county website.

Currently, there are no confirmed cases in Skamania County, however, this is expected to grow in the coming weeks and months.

The risk of exposure is increasing for people who live in our region. Health agency experts, including the World Health Organization, recommend social distancing measures be deployed to contain the spread in communities, not to specifically prevent illness, but rather to slow down the rate at which people get sick.

Today, I have issued a Declaration of Emergency for the City of Stevenson.  This is not a cause for alarm. This follows similar declarations made by the President, Governor and other communities across the State. This declaration is a preparative measure that allows the City organization to move swiftly and legally in our response through streamlining processes and providing access to federal, state and local emergency resources and funds. Any emergency orders and actions taken under the declaration are anticipated to be done in coordination with a regional response.

The City is planning for several contingency scenarios throughout its operational areas. Effective March 17, the City will implement a series of initial changes in operations and services as preventative measures to limit the spread of coronavirus among our employees and the community, including:

  • Cancellation of all City-permitted public events with planned or forecasted attendance of 50 or above.
  • Suspension of all non-essential public meetings.
  • Suspension of non-essential travel and training (including where trainers are brought in from outside the organization).
  • Modification of water shutoff policies to assure sanitation resources in homes.
  • Enhanced sanitation of all public buildings and facilities.
  • Encouraging symptom awareness and asking employees to stay home if they are sick.
  • At this time, scheduled City Council meetings will continue to occur, but with social distancing modifications including increased space between chairs and encouraging the public to participate remotely.  In the event the decision is made to cancel in-person City Council meetings, we will plan to allow for Council meetings to be conducted via teleconference, including the ability of the public to participate in some manner. Information regarding remote access will be listed on the meeting agenda.

The situation continues to change rapidly and our response will evolve and change accordingly. We will share additional information and updates as they are available.  In the meantime, information on the state and regional response can be found on the following websites:

Many of our businesses and non-profits are hurting. They are an integral part of our community fabric. The state and federal government have approved funding and programs to assist these organizations. The Skamania County Economic Development Council has information regarding loans, such as US Small Business Administration disaster assistance, more information can be found at https://skamania-edc.org/.

Employees impacted by business closures may also have access to benefits through the Washington State Employment Security Department (https://esd.wa.gov/newsroom/covid-19) or Washington State Paid Family Medical Leave (https://paidleave.wa.gov/coronavirus/).

State Representative Gina Mosbrucker also has a good website with up to date information and links to a broad array of resources related to COVID-19 and the impact on the region.

We encourage everyone to consistently practice the hygienic and social distancing measures recommended by Skamania County public health and the CDC.  It is vitally important that we all stay informed, stay calm and work together to keep our community safe and healthy and reduce the spread of the virus in our region. On behalf of the Mayor, Council and staff at the City, we extend our thanks to the Stevenson community for rising to the occasion.

Thank you.

Sincerely,
Scott Anderson
Mayor