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Wednesday, February 21, 2024

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A subdued 4th but signs of life and hope

It was an Independence Day like we’ve never seen before

2020’s Independence Day was not the usual Fourth of July by any means. This year, almost all towns and cities cancelled 4th of July events due to COVID-19.

In Oregon, a statewide requirement to wear face coverings was put into place on July 1. Cases of COVID-19 began to climb outside of urban areas and for the first time, rural Oregon experienced spikes of infection.

Gilliam County reported their first case of the disease on July 3 and two more cases were confirmed in Sherman County. Across rural Oregon, the numbers of infected persons grew.

Just as the Spanish Flu took time to reach rural areas during the 1918-1920 outbreak, so too did COVID-19, the latest iteration of global pandemic.

Still, people found ways to celebrate and got creative with decorations for their homes and businesses.

Staying in their homes and celebrating in their yards, families gathered to enjoy the beautiful weather and to honor the nation’s birth.

In Condon, small celebrations drew people out to walk the streets, buy food from the Paradise Rose Chuckwagon and to talk with friends – from a distance.

A hula-hoop contest was organized by volunteers at the Gilliam County Library. A parade snaked through Condon’s back streets, careful to avoid Main Street, which was prohibited.

To end the evening, the fireworks display was watched from home instead of the Condon Park. It was not a big bash by any means but people found ways to celebrate.

The Condon Chamber of Commerce arranged a decorating contests for front porches and businesses called “Patriotic and Proud.” Commercial contests winners were the Condon Drive-In, Gilliam County Public Library and Summit Springs Village. Pat Reilley, Dallas and Laura Harsin, and Ellen Wagenaar won best residential.

Of course everyone is eager for life to return to normal but these are the times we are living in. Here’s hoping that next year will be better and if so, Condon will hold one heck of a party.


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