96th Annual Conference - Cancellation

Dear LOC Members and Partners,

It is no secret that we are living in uncertain, unpredictable times. The Coronavirus pandemic which upended our lives collectively in 2020 continues to surge, even as we enter the final months of 2021. It is a scenario none of us had imagined or anticipated, but here we are. Our hospitals and healthcare workers are at a breaking point, and the data shows that evolving variants are ravaging Oregonians throughout the state.

While we all strongly desire a return to normalcy, we also have a responsibility to face the facts: we are still deep in the throes of a pandemic. It is a situation in which decisions are difficult and painful to make, primarily because the data changes and evolves daily, sometimes hourly. We all base our decisions on the best information available, and that is the position we find ourselves in today. We have an obligation to make the best decision for the greater good to keep our Oregon friends and family safe, and healthy.

After much discussion and debate, the leadership of the LOC has determined that we will be canceling our 96th Annual Conference and Membership Meeting, scheduled for October 21-23 in Bend.   

We did not arrive at this decision easily. Recognizing the importance of this event to our members statewide, we met with many of our key stakeholders to elicit feedback and opinions. We weighed the addition of more restrictive safety measures and information we received from the Oregon Health Authority. Perhaps most critically though, we worked together with leadership from the host city – the city of Bend – and Mayor Sally Russell, to determine what would be in the best interest for all involved.

In the end, we are confident that we made the best decision based on all the input and feedback to cancel our conference in October.

We also made the decision not to replace our in-person event with a three-day virtual conference, as we did in 2020. We feel that many are experiencing online “burnout” related to long-form events, so we will be modifying and condensing our program to one half-day. Our vision is to provide registrants with a powerful presentation in a four-hour time span to include our annual membership meeting. All individuals who have already registered for the scheduled in-person conference will be automatically registered for the half-day online event.

We realize this announcement may be surprising and generate several questions. Please refer to this Frequently Asked Questions document, which we anticipate will address most of your concerns. At this juncture, we can tell you that all registrants who have paid to attend the in-person conference will receive a refund, and we will complete that process by the end of this month, September 2021.

The leadership of the LOC will now redouble its efforts in planning for an outstanding Spring conference in 2022, and a resurgence of our annual conference, in Bend, in late September of 2022.

We appreciate your understanding, and your support of the LOC. We will provide you with more information in the coming days, and in the meantime, stay safe and healthy.

Best regards,

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Keith Mays, LOC President; Mayor, Sherwood

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Sally Russell, Mayor, Bend