City governments in Wallowa County must take unusual measures in these days of the COVID-19 pandemic to continue to meet the legal requirements of access to the public and public meetings.
The Enterprise City Council, which next meets Monday, May 11, will offer a GoToMeeting option for the public to attend. Residents also can attend by phone at 1-800-650-3123, with a call-in code of 336-949-525. City Administrator Lacey McQuead said some of the council members plan to attend in person and others will use the GoToMeeting format. Those present will maintain social distancing, she said. The meeting begins with a work session at 6 p.m. and the regular meeting at 6:30 p.m. A similar practice was held for the April meeting.
Public comment will be taken if submitted by noon the day of the meeting by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more information, call city hall at 541-426-4196 or visit the city’s website at enterpriseoregon.org or its Facebook page.
Wallowa is still holding in-person meetings, Mayor Gary Hulse said. “Right now, we’re limiting it to one item on agenda so we can limit the number of people,” the mayor said.
He said that with five councilmen and the recorder, four spaces are open. “We’ve been able to space our meetings 6 feet apart,” he said, adding that if they get more people, they may move to the fire station or outside. At present, Wallowa is not planning any sort of virtual meeting. Hulse said that could change if they get many requests for it. The Wallowa council regularly meets the third Tuesday of each month at 6 p.m. in City Hall.
Joseph, on the other hand, has canceled the meeting that would normally be held Thursday, May 7, said Larry Braden, city administrator. The Joseph council canceled the April meeting, as well.
Braden said he’s not sure when the council’s next meeting will be, but he’ll know in a couple of weeks. He said the county commissioners have offered the use of a large meeting room in the basement of the Wallowa County Courthouse, if the Joseph council chooses to hold an in-person meeting. He said such a venue would allow for social distancing. A virtual meeting option has produced some difficulties.
“That’s been what the struggle is … getting everybody on the same page” with a virtual meeting, Braden said.
On April 30, the council held a budget meeting where Braden presented the draft budget to the council. But that has to be approved in a regular meeting. He said that’ll likely happen before the end of the month.
As for Lostine, there was no response to repeated calls to City Hall.