Garibaldi City Council made an emergency declaration in response to coronavirus (COVID-19) at a special city council meeting held Wednesday, March 18. Ordinance 330, effective March 18, declares a temporary state of emergency within the boundaries of the city and delegating authority to the city manager.

Gov. Kate Brown issued on March 8 Executive Order 20-03, declaring a statewide state of emergency due to the serious public health and safety threat posed by the spread of the COVID-19 virus within the state. The City of Garibaldi has enacted local ordinance, 301, which pertains to the declaration and administration of a city-wide state of emergency within city boundaries.

The city council finds that during this state of emergency, it is prudent to delegate certain powers and responsibilities to the city manager in order to more efficiently expedite city responses and services. These emergency circumstances require focused and coordinated municipal and community responses beyond that which occur routinely, and such coordinated responses cannot be achieved without temporarily amending some of the city’s regular business, emergency, employment and intergovernmental practices.

There was concern about City Manager Geoff Wullschlager having responsibility, rather than Mayor Judy Riggs.

“The reason there are so many people involved in this is because of flexibility,” Riggs said. “If there was an earthquake, the city manager would be the first person who would probably be available.”

Riggs said the responsibility first falls on the city manager, and in order to have flexibility, needs to have as many people available as possible.

“The reason we need to declare an emergency as soon as possible in order to get in line is if there is federal or state funding that we need to have in order to protect citizens,” Riggs said. “That’s our main concern.”

During this state of emergency, the City of Garibaldi may take any legal action and necessary steps to respond and recover from the emergency, including: requesting assistance, funds, and reimbursement from the State of Oregon and federal agencies; adopting temporary rules and policies regarding city facilities, funds, resources and staff; entering into contracts for services or aid agreements with other governmental or private entities; and cancelling non-essential city meetings and events.

The city manager has the authority to take actions and issue orders necessary and reasonable to protect health, safety and welfare of the city and the public and to conduct activities that minimize the effect of the emergency. If he desires to issue an order limiting or banning public gatherings, issuing curfews, closing or limiting businesses or implementing other social distancing measures beyond what is ordered by the State of Oregon, he will first consult with the city council.

This state of emergency is effective immediately and will remain in effect until 5 p.m. Tuesday, April 28, unless extended.

Garibaldi closed its administrative and public works offices starting until April 1. This will be amended as needed. The City will be staffed by a reduced number of employees and any administrative needs, or land use applications can still be submitted. The City Planning Department is processing applications that do not require an public hearing at this time.

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