On February 28, 2020, Oregonians received news of Oregon’s first reported case of the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19). Public health officials and scientists announced individual, household, and community-wide actions to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Schools, community events, government agencies, and businesses adapted to take swift and comprehensive action to provide critical services while reducing the risk of spreading COVID-19.
One year later we have lost over 500,000 Americans including over 2,200 Oregonians and 530 residents of Multnomah County. Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler joins cities across the nation to observe the first Monday in March as COVID-19 Victims and Survivors Memorial Day. The Memorial Day commemorates the family members, friends, loved ones, colleagues, neighbors, and fellow Portlanders lost to COVID-19. The Memorial Day also acknowledges those who have survived COVID-19, some of whom are still battling symptoms from the virus.
While this year’s COVID-19 Victims and Survivors Memorial Day is March 1, 2021, the Mayor will introduce the Proclamation on Wednesday, March 3, 2021. To join the virtual Proclamation reading, please visit Portland City Council’s AM Session the eGovPDX Channel on YouTube (https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCcPIUh7CWwtBXisMPHWG65g/featured). The approximate time for the Proclamation reading is 11:00 AM (PST).
The Memorial Day also recognizes the significant efforts to contain the outbreak, reduce the number of infections, and provide life-saving relief.
“I want to thank emergency responders, managers, planners in community-based organizations, philanthropic partners, mutual aid efforts, and government agencies,” Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler said. “The pandemic has shown the importance of health, well-being, and connection. The people of Portland worked together during extraordinary circumstances to ensure the well-being of family, friends, and neighbors. They’ve also worked hard to maintain the memory of those who lost their lives because of COVID-19. Only together, we shall not only prevail over COVID-19, but create a stronger, safer, healthier Portland of the future.”
Reflections on COVID-19 Victims and Survivors Memorial Day
AARP Oregon grieves along with so many honoring the 91% of Covid deaths in Oregon that have been among people 60 and older, and all of those we sadly said goodbye to this year. Hopefully, our state is turning a page and through the valiant efforts of public officials, we will strike down this terrible virus and allow our society to return to normal soon. It’s been heartening to see our communities come together to reduce the infection rate in our state and we applaud Oregon for working together for a healthy future. AARP Oregon
Our House of Portland joins others from around the country mourning the tremendous losses we have all suffered this past year. We have worked side by side during this pandemic to insure, our residents, clients, staff, and each other were safe, felt connected, and were hopeful. It has been an amazing honor to witness daily the resiliency and determination to get to the other side of this, together. We do see the light over the horizon, and we know we have this thing beat because we are passionate about the care, we provide to people living with HIV. Our House of Portland
Black, Indigenous, and Portlanders of color have experienced heartbreaking devastation during the pandemic, particularly our Black, Native American, Pacific Islander, and Latinx communities. Longstanding inequities have been made apparent during the health, economic, and social crises of COVID. At the same time as we grieve for our losses, we also have seen incredible resilience and care among our communities and have an opportunity to come out of this as a more equitable city. Coalition of Communities of Color
If the past year has underscored anything, it is that those who are most vulnerable in our community continue to be those most disproportionately impacted by COVID-19. This is especially true for members or our trans and BIPOC communities. The fact that recent data shows that 558,000 vaccinations have been administered in Oregon and only 8,616 (1.54%) of them have been to Black folx, is unacceptable and a failure of the system. As a community health provider, we strive to address those health inequities, as well as advocate for systemic change, in order to address the barriers to care our clients and patients face. Tyler TerMeer, Ph.D
Too many people across Oregon face widespread and acute challenges that have been exacerbated by devastating and disproportionate impacts from the COVID pandemic — food insecurity, job losses, small business failures, children struggling to learn.’ We remain committed to working alongside our many partners across the state in the long journey in front of us to rebuild interconnected, resilient, equitable communities. Oregon Community Foundation
The full text of the Proclamation can be found below and here:
Whereas, the first Monday in March, has been designated as COVID-19 Victims and Survivors Memorial Day; and
Whereas, COVID-19 (SARS-CoV-2) is an illness caused by a virus that can transmit from person to person and has spread across the world, creating a global pandemic that is having catastrophic effects on human life, our community, and our economy; and
Whereas, Local and state governments, health departments, and public servants have taken bold actions to protect residents, support struggling local economies, and find innovative ways to provide services; and
Whereas, In response to rapid spread of COVID-19 and stay-at-home orders, essential workers have stepped up to provide critical services to help protect our communities and save lives, sacrificing their own health and safety; and
Whereas, COVID-19 has had a disproportionate impact on Black and Indigenous people, people of color, low-income communities, and Oregon’s elders, exacerbating inequities already prevalent in our systems that we must address as a nation; and
Whereas, Public health guidance and policies targeted at prevention, such as social distancing, wearing masks in public, and staying home help mitigate the spread of COVID-19, prevent illness, and lessen the burden on individuals and society; and
Whereas, The symptoms and severity of COVID-19 can vary dramatically by individual and the long-term health implications for survivors is largely unknown, as many survivors suffer with lingering side-effects of the disease long after they no longer test positive; and
Whereas, Nearly two and a half million people worldwide and over 500,000 in the United
States have lost their lives due to COVID-19, and, in Multnomah County alone, more than 500 lives have been lost to this deadly virus; and
Whereas, Each life lost to COVID-19 has meaning and leaves a hole in the hearts of loved ones, family members, and surrounding community; and
Now, therefore, The City of Portland, in remembrance of those who have lost their
lives and in honor of those who are forever marked by COVID and continue to suffer
from the impact of this virus, supports the designation of the first Monday in March as
COVID-19 Memorial Day
In Portland and encourage all residents to observe this day.