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Oakridge City Council 1/18: Chamber of Commerce asks for funding || A secure home for strays

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Oakridge City Hall Herald photo

by JOY KINGSBURY/for The Herald  —  Councilor Michelle Coker was excused, and Councilor Melissa Bjarnson attended by zoom.

Robert E. Moore, private citizen, wrote a letter to Council asking City to install speed bumps on School St. He states that School St. is subject to excessive speeding and is dangerous for pedestrians, wheelchair users, and children. Mayor Bryan Cutchen requested that Oakridge Police Department and Public Works make a report on costs and effectiveness of this suggestion for next session.

Trudy Hammond, private citizen, thanked the Oakridge Police Department for their assistance with animal welfare. She stated she had difficulty finding certain forms on the city website. All forms are online, including incidents reports. Councilor Dawn Kinyon told her how to find them.

A question of councilor attendance

Councilor Kinyon spoke on Council’s attendance report which she found to be erroneous, and she corrected. She believed the report implied that the Council is not committed to doing their work, and she stated she believes they are doing their work.

Council convened for Executive Section to conduct deliberations to negotiate real property transactions.

Council reconvened and a motion was made to direct the City Administrator to continue negotiations on the sale of lot 37, which motion was approved with one Nay vote by Councilor Chrissy Hollett.

Oakridge/Westfir Chamber seeks operating funds

Oakridge/Westfir Chamber of Commerce is requesting the sum of $5,650.00 from Transient Room Tax and or Rural Tourism Marketing Plan funds. The combined funds add up to some $50,000 last year, and the Chamber of Commerce received approximately $14,000 from these funds. Councilor Kinyon moved to table the request until the second meeting in February. Motion passed.

Michelle Emmons, Chamber President, told council that the Business Directory, an Internet Technical person, Insurance Policy, and other bills that are crucial to the operation of the Chamber, have not been paid and are due. Councilor Hollett stated she did some research on exactly what is legal to give to the Chamber from these funds.

Emmons went over the requests from the Chamber with the County and was told that only the portion of expenses that will induce overnight stays are legal. Councilor Hollett told the council that she does not believe the current request is within the guidelines of overnight stays. “l did look at the Chamber Website and there is almost nothing that pertains to overnight stays.”

Should Councilors have a vote when sitting on volunteer committees they’re on?

Next was the issue of recommending Councilors voting ability on Committees. The Administration Committee recommended that the Councilor member have no vote. There was a motion to have a discussion about the voting process and the committee feels that they would have more freedom to advise if the Councilor was not a voting member.

Councilor Kelly Brewer asked how many times in the past has it happened that that a Councilor broke a tie? If it does not happen that often, it seems unnecessary to have this resolution. Councilor Kinyon said that it happened twice in 2020. Reduce the number of citizens to five, then four out of five must attend each meeting. Motion made to adopt all the Advisory Committee’s recommendations on this item. The motion was approved.

In other City Business: it was announced that the cost from Greenhill for returning a dog will be $25.00 per day.

Oakridge does have four dogs at the kennels at the Water Treatment Plant. Oakridge Police Chief Martin is working on rates, driving distances, and other details concerning this issue. It’s been a while since Oakridge had to turn over a dog to Greenhill. Chief Martin has not used Greenhill for some time and local people have been found who will foster or adopt the dogs. The Humane Society has assisted in the past.

OIP lot sale nears finalization

A resolution finalized the sale of the Verizon cell tower lease to Power Point. The first reading of the resolution was read by City Administrator James Cleavenger. The mayor announced his support of this Resolution. It was Approved.

Mayor Cutchen asked a pointed question about the financial report. Have our expenditures exceeded our revenues? The city administrator told Council the Financial Report is not available due to a computer glitch. The city finance director explained that the report would be available when the computer software problem was resolved.

The police report was made by Chief Martin. He sent data from the National Traffic Hwy Commission about traffic calming tactics that were available online and data for each of them. He stated there are many suggestions and different methods of calming traffic in these submissions.

Chief Martin gave 2023 police department recap

He went on to report that during 2023, Oakridge had 270 Oakridge case reports and 2,967 incident reports. Westfir had 13 case reports, 202 incident reports and 163 contract hours, Lowell had one case report and 248 incident reports and 578 contract hours.

Councilor Kinyon asked about contract hours specifically on monthly reports, “Does this reflect the total amount of time the officer spends in that area?” Chief Martin said It does reflect all the time the officer does the reports and all necessary paperwork. Councilor Hollett asked, on the billing of fines, if the amounts were actually paid? Chief Martin told the council the bail the court receives is set by the Judge.

Public works director, Rick Zylstra, reported that in December 17.7 million gallons of water was distributed, 1.2 million gallons of wastewater was treated. Public Works did Brush mitigation, WAC roof leaking and water buckets had to be drained, removal of fallen trees. A tree fell down on Sunnynook with no injuries.

Hammond leads effort to house lost and errant animals

In public comment, Trudy Hammond, private citizen, spoke about the euthanizing of animals, and contacts to get information on any type agreements on that process. She told the council that a one third acre lot has been obtained here in Oakridge on which to house animals, it will be fenced and will house lost animals until they can find owners. She said, “l am here to provide animal services.” Mayor Cutchen remarked that it is good news to have an animal shelter.

All city Council meetings are open to the public and meet each first and third Thursday of the month at City Hall at six PM. A sign-up sheet for public comment is available at the door, and a Hybrid meeting is provided for that purpose on the city website.

Joy Kingsbury is an Oakridge resident and regular contributor to The Herald.

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