As you are all aware, the Board made the decision to cancel the Spring Conference this year in Medford due to the State’s restrictions on large gatherings, and to help prevent the spread of the COVID-19 virus. Refunds of registration fees went out last month. Hopefully you received yours without any issues. Please contact Treasurer Jamie Vohs if you have any questions regarding your refund. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The OFSOA Board met for our regular second quarter meeting on Monday this week and weighed the pros and cons of continuing plans for our Fall Conference at Oregon Garden in October 2020. After much consideration, we made the difficult decision to cancel the Fall event. Some of the factors surrounding this decision include the following:
- Due to financial impacts created by COVID-19 some agencies are freezing travel and funding related to outside education.
- At this time, Oregon is anticipating allowing larger gatherings by the end of September. This leaves the organization with very limited time to cancel contracts with speakers, venues and the like. We do not want to put the organization at risk of losing large deposits if restrictions are still in place.
- Even if Oregon opens back up and large gatherings are allowed by the time conference rolls around in the first part of October, we did not feel that it is the right thing to do to put our members and their departments at risk of potentially furthering the spread of COVID-19 especially so soon after these types of events are allowed. The health and well-being of our members, and of their departments, is of the utmost importance to the Board.
With that said, the Board is very sensitive to the fact that our members are getting the support they need during this time, whether that be through networking or training. I am working with Special Districts and the Oregon Fire Chief’s Association to look into the possibility of some smaller regional trainings around the State regarding hot topics we are all facing right now. Some topics we are considering are how to hold executive sessions using online meeting platforms (Zoom, GoToMeeting), how to protect your work sites from theft while working remotely, emotional support, etc. We will also be looking into putting together some webinars. The Board realizes and appreciates how important networking is, and this may provide an opportunity to continue that in some form. Our plan would be to provide these to the membership free of charge. Stay tuned for that. Our Communications Chair Melanie Bicket will be sending a survey to you regarding topics you feel would be useful during this time. We would appreciate your feedback.
The Board has several goals within the new Strategic Plan that we will be working on behind the scenes, and I encourage all of you who haven’t started the process, to consider working on your Accreditation. We have a new Accreditation Chair, Nannette Howland from Sandy Fire. Please email her at email@example.com with any questions.
I want to thank the Event Planning Committee for all the hard work they have put into both of these events. They have done an outstanding job, and I can’t wait to see what they have planned for us in the Spring 2021.
Thank you for your understanding, and please reach out to me, our Vice President Ashley Naught, or Diane Nave our Event Planning Chair with any questions.
Julie Spor, President