Colm Willis, Marion County commissioner, sits in on a homeless alliance executive meeting video conference on May 5, 2020. (Amanda Loman/Salem Reporter)

Like just about everyone else, life has changed for Colm Willis, chair of the Marion County Board of Commissioners.

“I would say the pace has been more intense,” said Willis.

He said community needs have been “very immediate.” That’s meant back-to-back meetings trying to get the right information and make sure the right resources are directed to the right people. Willis said that board meetings have been quicker.

“We don’t have as much time to deliberate because the decision has to be made right now,” he said.

The Board of Commissioners has continued to have some meetings at the county building in dowtown Salem and is having more remote meetings.

Over the last month, the county has been focused on getting more personal protective equipment, a hot commodity during the pandemic, he said. More recently, it’s been hiring more contact tracers, a key part of reopening the economy.

Willis said that one of the most difficult decisions was closing the Courthouse Square building to the public. - Jake Thomas

Colm Willis, Marion County commissioner, laughs with Ryan Matthews, interim director of the county Health and Human Services Department, between meetings on May 5, 2020. (Amanda Loman/Salem Reporter)

Colm Willis, Marion County commissioner talks with Commissioner Sam Brentano on May 5, 2020. (Amanda Loman/Salem Reporter)

Colm Willis, Marion County commissioner, sits in on a homeless alliance executive meeting video conference on May 5, 2020. (Amanda Loman/Salem Reporter)

Surrounded by hand sanitizer, Colm Willis, Marion County commissioner, speaks during a north county special meeting concerning COVID-19 response on May 5, 2020. (Amanda Loman/Salem Reporter)

Colm Willis, Marion County commissioner, sits in on a homeless alliance executive meeting video conference on May 5, 2020. (Amanda Loman/Salem Reporter)

Colm Willis, Marion County commissioner, speaks during a north county special meeting concerning COVID-19 response on May 5, 2020. (Amanda Loman/Salem Reporter)

The view from Marion County Commissioner Colm Willis' office in downtown Salem on May 5, 2020. (Amanda Loman/Salem Reporter)

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