|Restrictions ease as Clackamas County enters Phase 1 posted on 06/01/2020|
Clackamas County joined 33 other Oregon Counties in
reopening on Saturday, May 23, easing restrictions from the coronavirus
pandemic and entering Phase 1 of the three-phase process. Phase 1 includes limited
reopening of restaurants, salons, gyms and malls, along with gatherings of up
to 25 people for recreational, social, cultural, civic or faith events with
physical distancing requirements.
“Thank you, Clackamas County,” said Board of County
Commissioners Chair Jim Bernard in a press release. “Without your incredible
efforts in ‘flattening the curve,’ we would not have been able to move into
The county approved its application for reopening on
Tuesday, May 19 by a unanimous vote of the county commissioners. The county
must remain in Phase 1 for 21 days, while state guidelines for Phase 2 were
unknown at the time of press. A future spike in COVID-19 cases could result in
a return to the previous restrictions and closures.
Mountain restaurateurs took the news with a mix of
excitement and concern, including Susie Exley of the Barlow Trail Roadhouse in
Welches. Exley noted that they tried to stay open and offer takeout options
when the pandemic closure began but had to stop because it wasn’t making financial
Exley added that their hours of operation are yet to be
determined, but she expects to be open from Wednesday to Sunday with limited
options that include the restaurant’s most popular options, such as fish and
“We just don’t even know how busy or not busy we will be,”
Exley said, adding that her staff is excited to get going again.
She added that her biggest fears include having to go back
to the previous restrictions or having an asymptomatic customer that leads to
people at the restaurant needing to be in quarantine.
“That is what causes me to pause a little bit and not go too
gung-ho,” Exley said. “You just don’t know.”
Tom Anderson at The Rendezvous Grill never fully shut down
his restaurant, despite the challenges of doing takeout.
“Customers have been really good to us,” he said, noting one
benefit of exclusively doing take out is the lack of dishes. “People want us to
be there on the other side and have been very supportive.”
By continuing to operate with takeout, Anderson noted that
he feels the restaurant is in better shape than if he had closed entirely. To
meet distancing requirements, he will have to remove tables to adhere to
guidelines, but he added that the ability to seat customers outside will be a
“The outdoors will save us; the timing of it is good,”
Anderson said, adding that costs have gone up due to the pandemic.
Anderson also noted that prior to the pandemic he had
already begun restructuring things, including combining the restaurant’s lunch
and dinner menus. Now that the restaurant is open for customers to eat there,
he expects to only offer lunch on weekends and be open for less hours to start
At the same time, he noted that insurance companies will not
cover issues related to COVID-19 at the restaurant, so he will take things
“We are in no hurry,” Anderson said, adding that it has been
hard to sleep at night. “We would love to let somebody else be the guinea
Meanwhile, the Mount Hood National Forest was expected to
reopen most day-use and trailhead sites on Friday, May 29. Several sites,
including most campgrounds, will not open immediately, and a list of opened and
closed sites can be found at www.fs.usda.gov/goto/mthood/conditions.
"We are looking forward to reopening many previously
closed areas on the forest, while prioritizing the health and safety of the
public and employees,” said Richard Periman, Mt. Hood National Forest
Supervisor, in a press release. “We’re asking the public to be prepared, be
respectful of others, and recreate responsibly.”
Some facilities, such as vault bathrooms, may not be
maintained daily. It is recommended that all visitors be prepared to provide
for their own sanitation and be as self-contained as possible while recreating.
Timberline Lodge and Ski Area also reopened last month,
featuring a Covid Response Management Team, Covid employee training and
strategies to keep guests and employees safe and healthy. Guests should be
prepared for limited chairlifts and new processes for parking, lift tickets and
lift lines, while the hotel will only be open to overnight guests and have a
limited number of rooms available.
For up to date details about visiting and recreating
Timberline Lodge, please visit www.timberlinelodge.com.
Despite the lifting of restrictions, a number of annual
events have been cancelled for this summer, including the Mt. Hood Artisans
Market, Clackamas County Bank’s Party on the Patio, Compassion Sandy, Hood to
Coast and the Mt. Hood Cultural Center and Museum’s Steiner Cabin Tour and
Steiner Society Social.
“The concern for the health of cabin owners, event staff and
tour participants, as well as the uncertainty of the situation, have driven our
decision to cancel,” said Lloyd Musser, museum curator, in a press release.
The Steiner Cabin Tour and the Rhododendron Centennial +1
Celebration have been rescheduled for Aug. 7, 2021.
To find out what businesses in Clackamas County are
currently open, visit https://www.clackamas.us/coronavirus/business or
Businesses owners who have questions about their
requirements should visit https://govstatus.egov.com/reopening-oregon#phase1
To view the county’s plan and progress with Oregon state
prerequisites, visit www.clackamas.us/coronavirus/reopening.
By Garth Guibord/MT