First, let me thank you and the thousands of other residents that have done your part to keep us safe and healthy over the last month. Whether you’re a grocery store clerk at Haggen or Grocery Outlet or a Ferndale schoolteacher trying to keep your students engaged through a computer or just sheltering at home with your family, you are doing your part to protect our community. Thank you.
I want to take a few moments to talk to everyone in our city about what the future looks like. I’ve been in almost daily contact with the Governor’s office fighting to get Ferndale back to business in a safe and responsible way. I want to see our projects restarted and I want to see our businesses open but we have to do it right. The last thing anyone wants is for Ferndale to be “ground zero” for another outbreak. A second wave would cause even more brutal rounds of shutdowns and we cannot afford that in either lives or dollars. That’s why I’m relieved to see most Ferndale residents doing what they can to stay home and stay healthy. In another couple of weeks, we will see the restrictions from the Governor’s “Stay home, Stay safe” order begin to be lifted. But it will not be like flipping a switch. We will still need to maintain social distancing for much of our day-to-day operations and we cannot allow large gatherings.
Last week, the Old Settlers Association, Chamber of Commerce and the City of Ferndale agreed to suspend our large public events this summer in an effort to prevent another outbreak. Believe me, I was looking forward to Old Settlers Weekend especially since this would have been our 125th anniversary and, make no mistake, we will still celebrate our history. We will just have to do it without a big parade and a festival in the park.
Even more troubling, this week, we received news that the Intalco facility was closing. The smelter is part of the lifeblood of our community and they have been putting food on the tables of Ferndale families for over 3 generations. This closure will be a critical blow to our local economy and in the midst of a difficult time. We are Ferndale. We look after each other, especially when things look most grim. I know that I will do everything in my power to breathe life back into this facility and I will fight like hell for those Ferndale families who have lost their jobs during this difficult time.
These are difficult and troubling times but we are a resilient community. We’ve survived floods, economic disasters, tragedies and more. We will survive this together. Thank you.