Willamalane Forced to Make Difficult Staffing Decisions Amid COVID-19 Crisis
A temporary measure to help get Willamalane through this crisis, which has extended beyond original expectations.

SPRINGFIELD – Due to extended closures of facilities and cancellations of district programs stemming from the COVID-19 crisis, Willamalane made the incredibly difficult decision to temporarily lay off 288 part-time and seasonal employees. This is a temporary measure to help get Willamalane through this crisis, which has extended beyond original expectations.
The temporary layoff aims to provide access to resources and temporary unemployment flexible benefit insurance that the state of Oregon and the federal government are providing during this time of crisis.

“This is an incredibly difficult decision but one we have to make,” said Michael Wargo, Superintendent for Willamalane. “This is a phenomenal group of people who keep our programs and facilities running, and they are people that we truly value. But, given the reality we’re facing, this is a necessary step we need to take to ensure the financial health of the district.”

Willamalane will expedite the district’s typical pre-employment process for these affected employees. The district will reassess circumstances regularly and recall laid-off employees at the pace that the district reopens. The recall will be based first on job function, and then by seniority. Willamalane’s goal is to make it as easy as possible for these employees to return to service when the district is able to hire staff again.

Willamalane is a special tax district that draws approximately 40% of its operating budget from revenue generated through program registration, facility attendance, memberships, and other programs, which are all currently suspended. Until these programs can resume, Willamalane is forced to cut staffing costs. Impacted staff includes Willamalane lifeguards, class instructors, after school program leaders, custodial staff, customer service staff, park maintenance staff, and others.

About Willamalane:

Willamalane Park and Recreation District maintains and operates five recreation facilities and 46 parks and natural areas totaling nearly 1,500 acres. Highlights include 10 waterfront areas, 29 miles of hiking and biking trails, 9 turf and 4 synthetic sports fields and 27 playgrounds. Willamalane offers recreation programs to people of all ages and abilities. Created by voters in 1944, Willamalane is a special tax district, separate from the city of Springfield, with its own boundaries. It is governed by a five-member, elected board of directors and managed by a district superintendent. Online information is available at willamalane.org.
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