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City Council Regular Session Meeting July 21, 2022

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Oakridge City Hall Herald Photo

By RICK ZYLSTRA/for The Herald  —  The meeting started promptly at 7:01 with a Pledge of Allegiance, followed by roll call. One councilor attended at City Hall and the rest of the council, including the mayor, Zoomed in.

Following the roll call, the mayor added two additions to the night’s agenda, 9.5 artwork for the water tower & 9.6 discussion of a possible partnership with the Chamber of Commerce for a map and possible book.

Public Comment

All public comments were via zoom and started with the mayor reading comments provided by email to the council.

Erin DuMont provided a letter sharing her concerns with the handling of the people that are frequenting her neighbor’s recently burned down home. These people are currently living in a fifth wheel RV trailer that is also blocking her access to her home. Per the mayor’s request, Erin’s comment was immediately followed up by a report from the City Administrator where he stated the persons living in the fifth wheel trailer have received ten various citations and this is an ongoing situation.

Bryan Cutchen provided a letter to be read where he stated his concerns with the timing and availability of the budget documents. He states the budget posting did not meet the required five days of posting before the hearing, leaving citizens without an accurate budget to consider for the public hearing portion of adoption.

Mr. Cutchen also went on to say that in reviewing financial reports, that there was no transfer of the $405,297 to repay loans to the Water and Wastewater Funds, even though it was budgeted for; no transfer of $100,000 from General to Emergency Fund; nor the $100,000 of ARPA funds to the Wastewater Fund. In ending, Mr. Cutchen stated the good faith efforts to correct the errors were very late in the process and that it should have been done in an open and public way.

There was a short response from the council, but due to problems with councilors Zooming in, it was mostly inaudible. Mayor commented on the upcoming supplemental process. City Administrator Cleavenger stated the budget has been uploaded to the website and can be found in two places: Key Documents tab https://www.ci.oakridge.or.us/documents and under the Budget tab https://www.ci.oakridge.or.us/bc-bc/page/budget-101-proposed-budget-budget-calendar-general-info .

Trudy Hamond gave out a huge shout out to James Cleavenger for helping her with her roof and gutters on his off time, it was a supper sweet thing to do.

Dan Barclay first thanked the council for mentioning the supplemental budget that is planned for the future, after it was not completed and refused by staff in the prior year. And second, it has been seven years that Oakridge has not had a fire chief that was also qualified to respond to calls.

Mayor Comments and Announcements

The mayor thanked Sarah Altemus, the Collaborative, and her team for putting together the second Wildfire Safety Night and hoped for a third next year.

Council Comments

The council asked the City Administrator to verify the hours of City Hall. Mr. Cleavenger stated that even though City Hall employees work 40 hours, City Hall is open to the public 8 – 4 Monday through Thursday and closed on Fridays.

Consent Agenda

Consent Agenda of meeting minutes for June 2nd and June 16th, 2022, was unanimously approved.

Business of City Council

9.1 League of Oregon Cities 2023 Legislative Priorities

Mr. Cleavenger narrowed down the list of options for Oakridge’s five votes going to League of Oregon Cities (LOC) from twenty-nine options to seven. After council discussion, the council chose for Oakridge’s five votes to go towards: 1) Local Funding to Address Homelessness, 2) Community Resilience and Wildfire Planning, 3) Transportation Safety Enhancement, 4) Funding for Recovery of Abandoned Recreational Vehicles, and 5) Infrastructure Financing and Resilience.

The two chosen by Mr. Cleavenger that fell short to gain enough council votes were, 1) Full Funding and Alignment for State Land Use Initiatives and 2) Marijuana Taxes. None of the other twenty-nine subjects offered by LOC for their Legislative Priorities was discussed. While discussion on what these five votes where for was limited, the information from LOC found in the packet stated the five votes from each Oregon city would help LOC prioritize their efforts in their policy development process for the benefit of all Oregon cities. For more information please see, https://www.orcities.org/resources/communications/bulletin/2023-legislative-priorities-ballot-sent

9.2 Event Signage TRT Request

Per the mayor’s request, the council discussed using Transient Room Tax (TRT) funding to purchase ten double-sided “sandwich boards” signs for potential events. The mayor commented that this would be a good safety measure for events such as cycling and wished they would be required for future events. The request provided one quote from Signs Now at $2,080. Council discussed whether the sandwich board’s style signage followed the current Land Use Ordinance. The council decided to table the request to do some more research into the City of Oakridge Zoning Ordinance, ODOT requirements, seek more quotes, and decide how and which staff members would store the signs.

9.3 Ben Ward OLCC Liquor License Application for Bowling Alley

Ben Ward, is the owner of the bowling alley Willamette Lanes, located on highway 58. He requested that the city recommend to OLCC the granting of an “On-Premises” liquor license. A recommendation from the city is part of the OLCC licensing process and does not guarantee approval from OLCC. The motion to approve was unanimously approved by the council.

9.4 Fee Waiver Application for “Back-to-School Kids Jam” August 26-27, 2022

Mayor Hollett and the Oakridge Fire and Police Departments submitted a fee Waiver Request for the Amphitheater at Greenwaters Park for two nights. The waiver was for $1000 each night totaling $2000. The event would include movies and music on the stage with Fire and Police personnel present. There would be no transfer of funds from TRT that typically accompany Park Fee Waivers. The council unanimously approved the fee waiver.

9.5 Artwork for the Water Tower

The mayor wanted to discuss the past idea of artwork on the water tower. She had met with the artist creating the two murals on Highway 58 on the buildings formally housing the Locksmith and Fishing Supply. There was discussion regarding the safety of painting the tower, and that the possibility would need to be open to more artists, and the full costs associated with the painting of the artwork.

9.6 discussion of possible partnership with the Chamber of Commerce for a Map and Possible Book.

Mayor Hollett had discussions with the Oakridge–Westfir Chamber of Commerce regarding using TRT funds to create a Business Map followed by a book that businesses could pay to advertise themselves in, except motels, that must pay into TRT.

Business from City Administrator

10.1 WAC Inspection/Assessment and Insurance Coverage Updates

City Administrator Cleavenger provided documents from the City and County Insurance Services (CIS) stating even though the building lost its coverage the Baseball Field, Skate Park, and parking lot are still covered for liability. Council should be receiving a report on the viability of the building and its renovation soon. Aside from the electrical and roof systems the building is looking good, and its “bones” are better than previously thought.

10.2 Committee Vacancies and Recruitment

Mr. Cleavenger reported that every committee has at least one opening and four committees do not have enough participants for a quorum needed to hold meetings. The council and administration discussed how Ordinance 890 required that any appointed volunteer receives a background check. Even though this hasn’t always been done, it can be completed at no cost by our local Police Department for results pertaining to Oregon. The council also discussed how to create a process for choosing appointees and whether background checks are truly needed and if so, which volunteers.  The subject was tabled for further consideration and research.

Staff Reports

Fire and EMS

Scott Hollett gave the staff report for Fire and EMS. He briefed on the number of transports and calls, applicants for staff and volunteers, along with grant updates. But unfortunately, the report given was largely inaudible and was also not available in the council packet.

Public Works

For the month of June public works distributed 17.9 million gallons of water, treated 24.6 million gallons of wastewater. Crews also responded to thirty service orders, and performed thirty locates. There were two water leaks, both being bad meter stops. Crews accomplished other tasks such as mowing, brush removal on city properties and installed drinking fountains at Greenwaters Park and pothole maintenance. Public works is still short seasonal staff with seasonal positions still open.

Police

Police Department had 274 calls resulting in thirty criminal cases and eight arrests. Two applicants are in the background phases for employment with hopes to fill positions by August.

There was discussion amongst council and staff regarding the start time for future council meetings. The council and staff decided to start meetings at 6pm. For that reason, the August fourth meeting, and possible subsequent meeting, will be starting at 6pm rather than 7pm.

Meeting adjourned at 9:39pm.

Rick Zylstra grew up in Oakridge. He attended the University of Oregon where he earned a bachelor’s degree in Geography, and a master’s degree in Community and Regional Planning. He most recently worked for the City of Oakridge in both the Planning and Public Works Dept. Sunny Zylstra photo

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