PMG PHOTO: CHRISTOPHER OERTELL - Forest Grove Mayor Peter Truax speaks during the annual Forest Grove/Cornelius State of the City address at the Cornelius Public Library on Feb. 24
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This article was originally published by the Forest Grove News Times/Pamplin Media Group, one of more than a dozen news organizations throughout the state sharing their coverage of the novel coronavirus outbreak to help inform Oregonians about this evolving heath issue.
Forest Grove Mayor Pete Truax has declared an emergency over COVID-19, following similar declarations by Washington County commissioners, Oregon Gov. Kate Brown and President Donald Trump.
The city government made the announcement Saturday, March 14. The state of emergency will remain in effect until 8 p.m. April 13 unless superseded.
The declaration of emergency states that "the City and its officials shall be authorized to take such actions and issue such orders as are determined to be necessary to protect the public and property and efficiently conduct activities that minimize or mitigate the effect of the emergency."
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Hillsboro, Beaverton and Portland have all declared emergencies. Forest Grove, which has about 25,000 residents, joins Sherwood among smaller suburbs also declaring an emergency this week.
The city also announced Saturday that the Forest Grove City Library and the Forest Grove Aquatic Center will close from Monday, March 16, through Sunday, March 29.
The city will not shut off power or water to Forest Grove customers at least through the end of March, even if bills are not paid on time. NW Natural has said the same for natural gas customers.
The Forest Grove City Council will still meet Monday, March 16, but in an unorthodox configuration.
"To assure social distancing, councilors will not be meeting on the dais," the city said. "Teleconferencing options will be available for city councilors."
City boards and commissions will not meet through the rest of March.
Meanwhile, the Forest Grove School District has pledged to make breakfast and lunch available at no cost for anyone between the ages of 1 and 18. Pick-up locations include Echo Shaw, Harvey Clarke and Joseph Gale Elementary schools and the Rose Grove Community Park.
Breakfast can be picked up between 8 and 9 a.m. during the school district's closure, through March 31. Lunch can be picked up between 11 a.m. and noon.
There will be no on-site dining, the school district says, and students must be present to be given a meal.