Columbia Gorge Community College is postponing a ribbon-cutting originally planned for Saturday, Sept. 11, as COVID cases escalate throughout the region.

"This is a difficult decision, but necessary in the interests of public safety," said Dan Spatz, the college's director of capital projects and community relations.

Spatz noted the region's hospitals are already close to emergency room capacity, with health authorities expecting cases to peak over the next several days.

"Our public partners, faculty and project team had all been looking forward to celebrating as we open the Columbia Gorge Regional Skills Center and Chinook Residence Hall on The Dalles Campus," Spatz noted. "While we'll still open these new facilities for Fall Term late this month, we determined it would not be wise to plan a public event before then. We can manage classes to ensure student and faculty safety. It would be much more difficult to ensure safety of the general public at a large gathering, given the risk posed by Covid and the Delta variant in particular."

Instead, the college will prepare a video tour of the new facilities and post this from the website, www.cgcc.edu .

"When conditions allow, and with guidance from the health district and Governor's office, we'll plan a real celebration, where we can truly recognize the contributions from our public partners that made these new facilities possible," Spatz said. "We regret that we must postpone that celebration for the time being."