Commissioners honor couple for COVID defense efforts

Erik and Neva Anderson – nicknamed Team Anderson by the Albany Fire Department staff – were honored by Chief Shane Wooten Tuesday morning during a meeting of the Linn County Board of Commissioners.

Wooten presented the Andersons with his annual Chief’s Award for their work over the past year helping train staff, secure Personal Protective Equipment and providing myriad other assistance during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Neva Anderson is the Linn County Public Health Department’s Emergency Manager and her husband Erik is the county’s Emergency Preparedness Planner and Medical Reserve Corps volunteer.

The pandemic has made a huge difference in how our department operates,” Wooten said. “Last fall, we started planning and we are not pandemic experts. We reached out to the Linn County Public Health Department with donuts and it was the best investment we could have made.”

Wooten said the Andersons always go above and beyond in offering assistance, including late at night and weekends.

They walked us through the process,” Wooten said. “They are always willing to take us to the next step. We are unbelievably grateful to them and our community is unbelievably blessed to have Team Anderson in Linn County. They have truly been leaders with boots on the ground.”

After the meeting, Board Chairman Roger Nyqist said, “Neva and Erik have done an outstanding job. The county has been fortunate to have them handling things in these difficult times.”

Neva Anderson said the couple accepted the award on behalf of the many volunteers who have come together during the COVID-19 pandemic and September’s wildfires.

The events of 2020 and 2021 have definitely highlighted gaps where we can make improvements,” Anderson said. “We were able to respond quickly to both COVID-19 and the wildfires, but there is still room for improvement.”

In other business, the commissioners:

– Elected Commissioner Sherrie Sprenger as vice-chair, succeeding former Commissioner John Lindsey, who died March 9.

– Approved an intergovernmental agreement with the city of Lebanon for improvements and a jurisdictional transfer at Airport Road and Stoltz Hill Road.

– Approved a refund of $2,656 to Thomas Griffin for a paving approach permit on Middle Ridge Drive.

–Approved a $2,000 refund to Marilyn Wachal, who withdrew a land use appeal.

– Agreed that Sprenger should write a letter on behalf of the entire board encouraging the Oregon Department of Agriculture to hold a public hearing to solicit comments from residents near a proposed chicken ranching operation planned on Jefferson-Scio Road.

Alex Paul, Linn County Communications Officer