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Even during a year packed with drama, the weekend that shut down Oregon’s outdoors remains a surreal moment in state history. 

Beginning in the coastal town of Warrenton, where mayor Henry Balensifer declared tourists a “clear and present danger,” all of Oregon’s recreation destinations would eventually be closed for nearly two months due to concerns about the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Lisa Sumption, the director of the Oregon Parks and Recreation Department, was in the middle that moment and more during what’s been a chaotic 2020 for Oregon’s outdoors. 

The czar of 257 state parks and much of the Oregon Coast, Sumption navigated the shutdown, reopening and economic impact of COVID-19, along with historic wildfires and wind storms.  

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State parks officials made the decision to close many state parks ahead of spring break this year to prevent the