Patence Winningham selected as Oregon Emergency Manager of the Year

Patence Winningham selected as Oregon Emergency Manager of the Year
Posted on 11/22/2021
The Oregon Emergency Management Association (OEMA), in partnership with Oregon Emergency Management (OEM), selected Lane County Emergency Manager Patence Winningham as Oregon’s Emergency Manager of the Year. 

The nomination for Winningham outlines many of the accomplishments that led to her award, including a 2019 historic winter storm that left thousands stranded in eastern Lane County, including hundreds stuck on an Amtrak train. Winningham rose to the occasion, leading Lane County’s response and communicating with the State Emergency Coordination Center. Her request for an OEM liaison in response to what would become a federal disaster helped lay the foundation for future field deployments of OEM staff and helped chart the course for what would become the new statewide Preparedness and Response liaison program at OEM. 


Winningham continued to be tested with another federal disaster declaration due to flooding in April 2019. This was followed by the COVID disaster in early 2020. She worked with the County to engage FEMA and the Army Corps of Engineers to establish a 42-bed COVID recovery center designed to take care of some of the most vulnerable people in Lane County. And, most notably, she led Lane County’s response to the Holiday Farm Fire, which placed both her family and her home in danger, but did not stop her from placing her community’s needs above her own. 


“I am humbled and honored by this recognition,” said Winningham. “My first three years at Lane County have been quite a ride, and I could not have done it without the support of my colleagues. I – and everyone I work with – are here because we want to help our families, neighbors and communities.”


OEM Director Andrew Phelps surprised Winningham with the award at her Eugene office last week. 


“Patence is an innovator, a communicator, a problem-solver and a collaborator. She is also a tireless activist in her county for disaster preparedness, hazard mitigation, and other initiatives to reduce risk in her community,” said Phelps.