In the last several years Portland has survived a tornado and a flood and now we are challenged with a pandemic. When these challenges visit our community, “The People who work for the City are committed to do what it takes”, City Manager Tutt Gorman told the Beacon.
While City Hall has temporarily closed its lobby and front counter, Gorman said, “We have a permanent drive through and dropbox that residents can use to conduct their business with the city”. In addition, virtually all City Business can also be conducted on-line. If anyone needs to resolve an issue face-to-face Gorman encourages residents to contact the City directly at 517-647-7531.
Gorman told the Beacon that every city department has developed plans and contingency plans for dealing with this crisis. This includes protocols for cleaning uniforms and city vehicles like police cruisers. So far, no city employee has reported contracting the virus, but Gorman said accommodations will be made to staff who need to work from home if possible. “We have the technology to allow working from home if that becomes necessary.”
There has not yet been any additional cost to the City in continuing its operations. However, Gorman expressed serious concern about the ultimate cost the virus will have due to the shutdown of businesses, including restaurants, bars and the people that work at them. “The economic impact of all this will be hard”, Gorman reflected. National Public Radio this afternoon reported that so far 1/5 of all households nation-wide have had a family member that has lost work due to the pandemic. While some people can work from home, many more cannot due to the nature of their jobs.
In the meantime, we can all follow the advice and guidelines that are being promoted to socially isolate and practice healthy behaviors until this crisis is resolved.