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The St. Helens City Council has approved re-opening of city offices but is not yet ready to lift the State of Emergency declaration made in March as the COVID-19 pandemic spread across the state.  

State of Emergency

The St. Helens City Council is expected to decide in early June if the State of Emergency declared in March should be lifted as Columbia County and the state slowly reopen following the COVID-19 pandemic. These signs were posted when the city's State of Emergency was imposed.

Reopening the City

The Council will consider terminating the local State of Emergency declaration at its June 3 public meeting, City of St. Helens Communication Director Crystal King told The Chronicle.

During it's regular public session Wednesday, May 20, the city council instructed staff to open the public restrooms in City parks as soon as possible.

"The restrooms will be open as soon as staff make the necessary arrangements for additional cleaning requirements under the Governor’s order," King said.

City offices will begin to reopen as soon as necessary personal protective equipment and cleaning supplies, such as masks, gloves, countertop sneeze guard shields, etc, arrive and physical distancing measures and crowd limitation plans are implemented, according to King.

"We want to ensure that our staff and the community remain safe as we reopen," King said. "We appreciate the community’s patience as we wait on the arrival of these necessary supplies and make our buildings safe to welcome the community in once again."

King said that since the way employees interact with the community varies drastically from city building to building, city offices will reopen individually.

"Once the necessary safety equipment has arrived and been installed, we will announce reopenings as they take place," she said. "The city will remain consistent with state guidelines as we make reopening decisions."

Due to the pandemic and efforts of public safety, the St. Helens Recreation Program’s summer camp program has been cancelled.

"The safety of our recreation program staff and the community is the City’s number one priority and the social gathering limitations currently in effect for recreation programs were factors in the city council's decision," King said.

Tourism Events

In order to ensure the safety of the community and city staff and to comply with the Governor’s current orders regarding large gatherings and events, the City of St. Helens Council has following has also determined what tourism events will be canceled or altered due to the state's restrictions.

  • 13 Nights will not be held this summer

Staff is exploring the option of holding a 13 Nights concert series in the fall after the Governor’s orders have been lifted or modified.

  • There will be no Independence Day fireworks
  • There will be no Citizens Day in the Park this summer

Follow developments here online and in the Wednesday print editions of The Chronicle.

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