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Willamalane Seeks Lifeguards To Continue Reopening Efforts

Melorie Begay/KLCC News


Willamalane Park and Recreation District in Springfield is looking to hire dozens of lifeguards in an effort to reopen their waterpark and expand hours.

Aquatic Program Manager Brandon Lemcke says they’d like to reopen Splash! At Lively Park, but they don’t have enough staff. Previously, they had about 70 lifeguards, but after a year of pandemic related lay-offs they have 23. 

In March 2020, Willamalane furloughed 288 staff and later in November, 144 were furloughed. Among those affected were seasonal and part-time employees, including program instructors and lifeguards. 

Credit Melorie Begay/KLCC News
Aquatics Program Manager Brandon Lemcke.

"It’s been many months since we were able to open and because of that a lot of our staff, our frontline staff which is pivotal to this department to run and be open actually ended up having to find other jobs and other work elsewhere,” Lemcke said.

Lemcke adds one of the biggest challenges has been Oregon’s bi-weekly COVID-19 risk level assessment and adjusting staff to capacity needs. He points to Lane County's recent move from High to Moderate Risk for COVID-19.


"That was a big change because we had to increase our capacity limits, increase the staff, increase the hours, and then in two-weeks we might move to something else," he said.


The district will begin lifeguard certification classeson March 26 in hopes of seeing more applicants. Individuals 16 years and older can sign up for $50.



Copyright 2021 KLCC


Melorie Begay is a multimedia journalist for KLCC News. She was the Inaugural KLCC Public Radio Foundation Journalism Fellow. She has a bachelors in Multimedia Journalism from the University of New Mexico. She previously interned at KUNM public radio in Albuquerque, NM and served as a fellow for the online news publication New Mexico In Depth.