Letter from the President, August 2021
Greetings, colleagues! There’s a lot to share with you as we head into fall.
First, I’d like to introduce Deb Meihoff, AICP, as the new Chair of our Education and Outreach Committee. Deb has worked with the Committee for many years, most recently as the coordinator of our Community Assistance Planning Program. Deb has an extensive public and private sector background in planning, working in communities around the state. We’re thrilled that she has volunteered to serve the Chapter in this capacity. We’d also like to extend our heartfelt thanks and appreciation to Brian Campbell, FAICP, the outgoing EOC chair, for his long service in various OAPA and national leadership roles. We look forward to his ongoing work to recruit future AICP Fellow nominees (more on that coming soon, hopefully!).
I also want to share some updates on how OAPA continues to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic. We had hoped to begin a slow return to in-person events this fall, but the Delta variant is causing us to change course in the short term. Here are some details on how we are adjusting our programming in response:
- Planners Network Meetings: We had planned to resume in-person PNM meetings in September, with an event in Baker City. This event has been postponed. Instead, we will offer two smaller virtual events for planners and planning commissioners. See details in this newsletter below. Our next PNM meeting is planned for January, in McMinnville. OAPA and DLCD will re-evaluate pandemic trends later this year to determine a plan for that event.
- Joint Conference: As previously announced, this year's Joint Conference with APA Washington will be held virtually once again. As a part of that event, we have hoped to include some small-scale, local in-person networking events during the conference, however, the current COVID trends are making in-person events a challenge. We have asked organizers of these small gatherings that, if held, they occur entirely outdoors, with participants masked, and with attendance restricted to vaccinated participants only. Depending on the status of the pandemic in October, out of an abundance of caution for our members, we may elect to cancel in-person networking events entirely. Remember that attendees can use the Whova app to organize their own get-togethers with colleagues, even meeting online without needing a Zoom account.
- Legal Issues Workshop: This year’s Legal Issues Workshop will be held on schedule, although the format is still being determined. At present, the event is being planned in a way that it can be held as either a hybrid (both in-person and online) or online-only event, depending on the course of the pandemic.
Finally, a word about vaccination. We know that vaccination is the best tool to get us through these most dangerous phases of the pandemic and into a situation where we can safely return to regular in-person events. Although no decisions have been made at this point, future OAPA events may require vaccination for in-person attendance to ensure that we can keep our members and guests safe. Our commitment to members is to monitor the situation and make decisions about the time, place, format, and requirements for events that are responsive to local public health guidance and best practices.
To that end, OAPA strongly urges all members and their eligible family members to get vaccinated as soon as possible. If you've not yet been vaccinated, visit https://www.vaccines.gov/search/ to find a vaccination source near you.
As always, if you have questions or concerns about our programming, or ideas about how we can better serve you as an OAPA member, please reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I hope that you and your family have had an enjoyable summer and that you stay safe and healthy as we enter this fall.
Aaron Ray, AICP