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A Heartbreaking Day | A Letter from CEO Steve Bloom

Dear Portland Japanese Garden Community

Last week was one of the hardest we have faced as an organization. On Wednesday, March 18 we closed the Garden to the public and ceased all programs until further notice. The next day, we made the painful and unprecedented decision to temporarily lay off the majority of our staff, more than 100 of the kindest, smartest, most dedicated people with whom I’ve had the privilege of working.

Photo by Mary Snow

We tried to remain open and be a place where the community could find some peace while practicing social distancing in nature. But it quickly became apparent that this would not be possible.  In fact, the spring weather brought more and more people to the Garden each day and the situation was not only putting our staff at risk, but the visitors as well.

The timing of COVID-19 could not have been worse. Coming on the end of our slow season, the loss of admission ticket revenue meant we could not keep staff employed and still preserve the organization and the Garden itself. Especially since none of us knows how long this situation will last.  Your support today can help ensure that our Portland treasure can re-open once the social threat has passed.

Moving forward, we have retained a very small staff, all to manage through this crisis as well as a few gardeners to tend to maintenance of the physical Garden.  But as you can imagine, this has been devastating to our Garden family.

Now we ask for your patience in these days ahead. We know you may have questions about what the impacts of this closure and event cancellations will mean for memberships, upcoming events, and of course the Garden itself. We will find answers in time. But in the short term, we hope you understand that our focus is on sustaining the Garden and its staff.

We will be monitoring conditions daily, and hope that soon we will be able to open to the public again.  Along the way we will work to keep each of you informed as the situation evolves.

Thank you all for your continued support and may you and your families be safe and healthy.

Sending virtual hugs to you all,

Steve Bloom, CEO
Portland Japanese Garden

PS – We know there are many out there who have their own hardships. But if you are able, please help support the Garden and its staff with a donation today.