Fort Worden, Centrum not reopening any time soon

Posted 5/20/20

Although Gov. Jay Inslee announced May 1 that Jefferson County may be able to lift restrictions on business operations sooner than other counties in the state, representatives of the Fort Worden …

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Fort Worden, Centrum not reopening any time soon

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Although Gov. Jay Inslee announced May 1 that Jefferson County may be able to lift restrictions on business operations sooner than other counties in the state, representatives of the Fort Worden Public Development Authority and the Centrum arts organization cautioned county residents or prospective visitors from anticipating anything like a relatively quick reopening.

Centrum Executive Director Rob Birman said Centrum remains on a work-from-home position through the month of May at least.

“Relaxed standards won’t mean very much until testing is increased and a vaccine is on the horizon,” Birman said. “Assuming we abide by the four-tiered modeling, and we’re currently in Phase One, we do not expect to get in the clear for many more months.”

Birman also pointed out that Centrum doesn’t have crews available right now, so they’re largely focused on planning and internal maintenance of Centrum’s archives, buildings and equipment.

“We are meeting weekly to continue dreaming of locally centric program options, but as of now, we do not forecast a date to resume programming any time soon, realistically,” Birman said. “This will all hinge on the public’s ability to convene as the main measure for us.”

Dave Robison, executive director of the Fort Worden Public Development Authority, concurred with Birman’s assessment that normal hospitality operations at the fort may be a few months away.

“We are, however, developing a reopening plan and economic recovery strategy,” Robison said. “But the timeline will be driven by the governor’s directives and our county public health officer. Nonessential travel, such as tourists coming from the I-5 corridor to Fort Worden for overnight visits, is not allowed until we get into Phase 3.”

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