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Willamalane furloughs 59 employees due to COVID-19

Officials at Willamalane said they are expecting significant losses until stay-at-home restrictions are lifted.

Posted: Apr 16, 2020 1:09 PM

SPRINGFIELD, Ore. – Willamalane Park and Recreation District is furloughing 59 employees due to financial pressure from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Officials at Willamalane said they are expecting significant losses until stay-at-home restrictions are lifted. About 40% of their operating budget comes from programs, admission, sponsorships and donations.

“These staffing decisions are a difficult but necessary step to ensure the long-term financial health of the district,” said Superintendent Michael Wargo.

Affected employees work in various departments in the district, including early childhood education, parks and maintenance, aquatics, and administrative positions.

“It is heartbreaking to furlough so many great employees who do an incredible job serving Springfield,” Wargo said. “They have created hundreds of at-home craft kids, helped provide meals to seniors, staffed a mobile food pantry, coordinated volunteers to make masks for our community, and adapted to the ever changing needs of our community. We’ve also provided digital programming in the areas of fitness, parks, and family resources.”

Willamalane closed its facilities to the public and canceled programs beginning March 12. Union and full-time employees were kept on at that time. Officials said employees were offered a coronavirus leave program, but many employees have already exhausted that leave bank, and the workload has sharply reduced.

Officials said they will continue to provide existing medical, dental, and life insurance benefits to all impacted employees through June 30. They can also file for unemployment benefits.

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