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Oakridge City Council meeting 1/5: A new year and a new mayor

Oakridge City Hall Herald photo

By GARY CARL/for The Herald  —  On January 5th, 2023 the Oakridge City Council greeted two new faces:  Bryan Cutchen, Mayor, and Councilor Dirk (Poncho) Tarman were sworn into office.

In addition, two existing Councilors, Jan Hooker and Michelle Coker, both of whom were re-elected to their respective seats, were also sworn in.  Immediately after the brief ceremony, Mayor Cutchen delivered his State of the City address. 

New mayor gives State of the City address

He said that although he has not been directly involved in Oakridge City issues recently, his previous experience on staff (as the City Administrator) does provide some insight, … working with the rest of the city council and the budget committee, he promised to take a comprehensive look at the budget for fiscal 2022 and 2023 and adopt a budget that is balanced.

Mayor Cutchen called for cooperation and teamwork to overcome the daunting challenges facing Oakridge.  He said that regardless of differences, everyone wants to create a brighter future for the city.  He went on to say that he intended to use the 2020 -2025 City of Oakridge Strategic Plan and its goals as a guidebook for decision making.

Mayor Cutchen’s State of the City address can be read in its entirety here:

https://box5189.bluehost.com:2096/cpsess8200760768/3rdparty/roundcube/?_task=mail&_action=get&_mbox=INBOX&_uid=4384&_token=ccFPDyubOkVQziOCMcerNKQi4HVM3NTh&_part=2

As the meeting moved into “Public Comment”, Kelly Brewer, expressed numerous concerns regarding the project commonly known as “the Hill Street Turnaround”.  She complained vociferously about the manner in which the city was handling this project and she presented the councilors with a written memorandum of the relevant issues comprising her complaint.  The matter is being handled by our City Planner, Rick Zylstra.

Summary of additional council business

Councilor Kinyon was elected as the Council President…

City Administrator, James Cleavenger, was sworn in as the Oakridge City Recorder…

The City Administrator’s Contract was approved by the Council…

Brock Butterfield, a private citizen of Oakridge, requested funding and a fee waiver for park use in support of his proposed event: The Bus Fair 2023.

After council discussion it was decided to postpone Mr. Butterfield’s request to give the council more time to consider his request for a financial contribution from the city.  Since Mr. Butterfield is temporarily residing in Utah, the council suggested that he make any further appearance via Zoom and not make a special trip from Utah to Oakridge for the purpose of answering Council questions.

Spliethof resigns from council. Sites health reasons

During the meeting, Councilor Spliethof announced his resignation. A solicitation for applications will be published. After a 30-day period, the council will hold a work session to consider applicants.  Thereafter, the council will vote in open session on seating a replacement for the remainder of Councilor Spliethof’s term.

Committees, boards and commissions give update

Mayor Cutchen asked for updates on committee/commission business from the respective committee/commission members. The following is a list of these assignments:

Admin Committee:                         Kinyon

Parks & Community Services:     Zylstra  *(Councilor Tarman appointed)

Public Safety Committee:             Coker

Audit Committee:                           Kinyon

Charter Review Committee:        Kinyon

Budget Committee:                        All

Library Board:                                 Tarman  *(Councilor Tarman appointed)

RTMP & TRT:                                   Kinyon

Planning Commission:                   Zylstra

OEDAC:                                              Cutchen

WAC Sub-Committee:                   Hooker

Special Fire District:                       Hooker

Very brief reports were given as most of the committees/commissions have not been meeting regularly due to a lack of quorum or other factors.

The meeting was adjourned at 7:50 pm

Gary Carl is a retired judge of the Lane County Justice Court. He currently lives with his partner, Lynda Kamerrer & their cat, Lucy. Gary can be reached at [email protected] Gary Carl photo
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