Coronavirus and Team Lincoln County

Lincoln County’s information web page and document archive for COVID-19 lives here. Please review this information for best practices and knowledge regarding Coronavirus in Lincoln County. Note, ” The virus is not able to discriminate. Individuals of particular racial or ethnic groups are no more likely to get COVID-19 or spread it to others.” The best way to protect yourself is to avoid exposure to the virus. Read more…

Dr. Lesley Ogden, CEO of Samaritan’s Coastal Hospitals talks to Susan Trachsel, Health and Human Services, PIO about how Samaritan’s “ready” preparation is common protocol. Excellent information. Take moment and listen to your Doc. This is the second in a series of videos we have recorded and are currently producing.

When our team began tackling local Coronavirus response… I was kind of laying low. I wear a lot of hats as do many of my cohorts. I was absent from the first multidisciplinary discussions within our organization (last week). I began to observe from the periphery – that in a matter of days – my usual routine was going to be sidelined for the priority focus of the “Emergency Management PIO” aspect of my job description which when necessary is complete immersion in emergency communications. Most of my other duties get put on hold – the focus – ensuring the safety of our community.

Did you know…? Lincoln Alerts emergency notification system enables the agencies within Lincoln County to provide you with critical information quickly in a variety of situations, including severe weather, distant tsunamis, unexpected road closures, missing persons and evacuations of buildings or neighborhoods due to a hazardous material event or possible wildfire situations.

Community members, visitors and businesses can choose up to 3 ways
 to receive emergency notifications and community information from Public Safety, City, Tribal and County Officials for Lincoln County, Oregon. Community members should also be knowledgeable of our local radio, print, television and on-line media sources who will provide additional information from local public safety officials as it becomes available

There were no cases and continue to be no cases of COVID-19 in Lincoln County. However, my knowledge is not necessarily public knowledge. Sometimes, is too easily forgotten that internal institutional insight is not public information – until we communicate – outward to the community.

What’s developed within the emergency communications discipline is a deeper recognition of the need to moderate and monitor communication.  This is partially due to proliferation of social media. It’s a double-edged sword of sorts. On one hand we all have this amazing communications tool at our disposal: each of us has our own personal news amplification platform. On the other, as you may have experienced, it can be difficult to verify credible information on the internet. Relying on the 24-hour national news cycles, does not necessarily mean local accuracy. The cable news media are occasionally prone to lavish claims and sensationalism to keep eyeballs on their mediums.

So many conference calls… Not the most glamorous photo but the lifting is heavy and the conversations are serious. Samantha Buckley ( Assistant Emergency Manager), Nicole Fields (Deputy Director – Public Health), Jenny Demaris (Emergency Manager) and Susan Trachsel (HHS/PIO) talk to representatives from Local Fire, Siletz Tribe, School District, Cities, Law Enforcement, Hospitals, etc.

Locally, the players who began to assimilate our situation were Emergency Management, Public Health and our Legal team. I’ll also note that Commissioner Jacobson is the new liaison with Emergency Management – she was also present in the initial conversations that emerged to build situational awareness and strategies for planning both internally for our employees,  the safety of our citizens and the support role we provide to those we call “Cooperators”: they include – but are not limited to – first responders, local health care facilities, public safety AND regional organizations such as Oregon Health Authority, Oregon Office of Emergency Management, CDC and others.

Lesley and Susan. I want to note the work Susan has been doing in regard to COVID. My fellow PIO has done so many good things, thus far. It really makes a difference for all of us to have this dedication and passion for community health. Simply put – all of these women – kick some serious ass! Go team!

When concern arises Team Lincoln County kicks into gear and we begin to have LOTS of conversations, conference calls, and preparations. I can tell you that COVID has not been taken lightly. I’m reminded of the skill and compassion of our local team to address both the need to communicate reliable and credible information to keep our community safe. We’ve evaluated and planned for practical actionable measures to prepare for the worst and best-case scenarios in Lincoln County.

Nonprofit Capacity Building Seminars, L.C.OR.

One of the activities I’ve been fortunate to facilitate and participate in has been the County’s Nonprofit Capacity Building Seminars 2019-20. The seminars took place over a period of four dates and were an opportunity for some of our County’s amazing organizations to build their capacity and improve on best practices that are needed to do this important work in our community.

Group photo during the final class. We asked for one two-person teams (two Board members or a Board member and Executive Director) per organization. Preference was given to previous recipients of the County’s Nonprofit Social Service Allocation Grant Program. More information…

The class materials, power point presentations, photos and video excerpts are available online to the public. (

If you currently serve on a nonprofit board, are considering volunteering, would like to form a nonprofit – consider reviewing these documents in detail.  There is a degree of complexity to the nonprofit organizational structure that deserves thoughtfulness and perseverance. Maintaining continuity throughout the lifespan of the nonprofit is one of reward and challenge.    

The goal: teach practical information, tools and strategies that improve Board and nonprofit performance and make Board service more rewarding and to foster mutual support among Lincoln County nonprofit leaders and encourage more people to “step up” to Board service.

We saw some new and familiar faces from across the County. Participating organizations included but not limited to Bright Horizons Therapeutic Riding, NW Coastal Housing, Samaritan House, Lincoln City Cultural Center, Porthole Players, Habitat for Humanity, Pacific Communities Health District Foundation, Oregon Coast Council for the Arts and others.

The general programming included:

  • Good Governance, Better Meetings, Shared Leadership
  • Clear Expectations; Shared Values, Equity and Inclusion, Strategic Recruitment.
  • Theory of Change; Strategic Planning, Key Performance Indicators
  • Performance Evaluation, Leadership Succession, Emergency Planning

We were fortunate to have employed the services of MBA, Barb Gibbs, a former program officer at the Meyer Memorial Trust, consultant with the Nonprofit Association of Oregon, and trainer in the Ford Leadership Program. Barb has been there and done that. This has been tremendously valuable to have her fluid knowledge power.

Barb Gibbs discusses leadership style... “What has become clear over the years is that a ‘best’ leadership style does not exist; rather a successful leader is one that matches the style with the current situation to maximize productivity and human satisfaction. The adaptability of a leader appears to be his or her greatest strength.” —Anne Breen

The Board’s Roles: Governance and Support

“Public benefit nonprofits receive significant tax benefits based on the Internal Revenue Service’s determination that their missions and activities further charitable purposes and serving the common good. A public benefit nonprofit is required by law to have a board of directors that acts on behalf of the general public, does not stand to gain financially from board service, and provides prudent oversight of the organization’s direction and operations. The board of directors has two types of roles: governance roles that involve protecting the public interest through questioning and monitoring and supporting roles that involve being part of a team through building and helping the organization. BOTH board roles are essential for a healthy nonprofit organization.” Review it.

Throughout the course I was inspired to observe and learn about the passion these individuals have for doing good and meaningful work. Resources are scarce and the need is high.  In July, the County did a basic inventory of local nonprofits that call Lincoln County home. This preliminary look identified over one hundred organizations.

Essential for review to all aspiring and participating board members is the State of Oregon’s Guide to Nonprofit Board Service in Oregon.

“…the principal role of the board member is stewardship. The directors of the corporation are ultimately responsible for the management of the affairs of the charity. This requires active participation. People who do not have the time to regularly participate should not agree to be on a board. The board must insure that the organization is operated for a charitable/public purpose; it may not be operated for private benefit. Proper stewardship requires that the organization’s assets be held “in trust,” to be applied to its charitable mission.”

Peer discussions: fundraising legalities, donation management, raising operating support during a capital campaign, evolving missions, reflecting the community on boards, complexity of working with partners and leadership, transition from founder-led to board-led, recruiting committee members… and the beat goes on…

An encouraging theme embraced during the classes was the need for more equity and inclusion on both board membership and outreach to our community. It was clearly more than buzzwords for these participants. The genuine desire to be effective in the services provided and the recognition that that participation is fundamentally inseparable from decision making and guidance a board is charged with overseeing. These groups recognize the continued need for recruitment, improvement and refinement. 

Equity seeks to ensure fair treatment, equality of opportunity, and fairness in access to information and resources for all. We believe this is only possible in an environment built on respect and dignity. Inclusion builds a culture of belonging by actively inviting the contribution and participation of all people. We believe every person’s voice adds value, and we strive to create balance in the face of power differences. We believe that no one person can or should be called upon to represent an entire community. – Ford Foundation

It’s been wonderful to observe this empathy and intelligence. Kudos to the County, the Commissioners and staff for putting it all together. Kudos to the volunteers, board members and their staff who are boots on the ground, making an impact now and into the future.

It looks promising that the County will continue these Nonprofit Capacity Building Seminars in the coming years. Interested? Contact the Board of Commissioners office.