Front Page

Oakridge City Council meeting 9/1: More public safety fee discussion headlined meeting

oakridge city administrator bryan cutchen,oakridge city council,south willamette solutions,sarah altemus-pope
Oakridge logo hangs on the wall in City Hall Doug Bates/The Herald

by JOHN ROSS/for The Herald  —   Opening with a citizen’s e-mailed suggestion, Council declined to immediately launch a new citizens committee devoted to the city’s Public Safety Fee (PSF). They eventually choose instead to task the city’s budget personnel with bringing public input into deciding how to implement and enforce the PSF collection.

Mayor Christina Hollett’s report included high praise for a back-to-school kids’ night of movies and music. “I thought it was very successful,” she said. “We had lots of kids and lots of families.” She encouraged parents who missed the Police department’s bike helmet giveaway to contact the police department.

“It was a really fun night,” she said.

The mayor also praised the Chamber of Commerce’s after-hours Bank Park fundraising evening to pay for a new informational kiosk at the park. “It was really fantastic,” she said. Chamber spokesperson Lynda Kamerrer said they have $2,000 “lined up” that, added to the $1,000 raised, puts them within $6-7 thousand to complete the structure.

As a response to citizen complaints on the maintenance of park grounds and facilities, the mayor toured Greenwaters Park with Robert Chrisman and came away impressed with how much effort goes into maintain just one park. “It is impossible to maintain everything that needs maintaining” she declared. “But they do a really good job.” She floated the idea of opening several park maintenance tasks to citizen volunteers.

Other ideas included soliciting donated repair materials and labor to recover splinter-prone park benches that need sanding and repainting. The Greenwaters Amphitheater, likewise, needs repairs to decaying stage flooring and deteriorating curtains. Additionally, since Banner Bank has departed the city, the facility needs to be renamed when a new sponsor comes forward.

She suggested a movie night for grownups much like the highly successful family night with films, food and refreshments sold that might help raise funds for the necessary repairs and improvements.

“We just need to pull in people to help with that,” she said. “Our park is really underutilized and should be full every week.” She closed by saying she wanted to make sure the council is OK with her ideas in general and the Amphitheater’s, specifically.

Turning to the council chamber refurbishment, Mayor Hollett said the upgrades to the council chambers, including painting, chairs, and general cleaning, was proceeding satisfactorily. She said she and City Administrator Cleavenger were especially looking forward to a better camera being installed along with upgrades in audio equipment. “Were pretty close,” she said. “We just need stuff installed.”

A proposal to upgrade the city’s accounting software to the “Gold Standard” package offered by a Utah software firm was discussed at some length but ended up being postponed when questions arose over pricing and monthly service fees. Finance Director Colleen Shirley, who was away on family leave, called in but was unable to allay Councilor Dawn Kinyon’s concerns. At issue was whether there were possible significant savings from paying for the $90 thousand package up front rather than over time. What was proclaimed as perfectly clear was consensus that the current software and support by a firm back east was neither functional nor meeting support needs in a timely way.

Further along, Cleavenger reported encouraging progress made in dealing with potential fines by the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality over missed deadlines on required reports. He praised consultant Rick Zylstra of WestOak GIS and Planning for his help in alleviating an expensive crisis.  “I want to thank Rick for his tireless effort and willingness to jump right into this.” The city had faced DEQ fines of up to $12 thousand a day over reports that were delayed by staff turnovers and COVID interruptions of City functions.

Cleavenger also revied the status of area forest fires, saying plans were being developed to create a templet for future evacuations. He reported that some areas near Waldo Lake were on Level 1 alerts as a result of the Cedar Creek fire. (Note: By Friday evening, citizens were ordered to evacuate immediately)

Council also approved commemorating the nine-year service of recently retired Officer Steve Davidson with the gift of his badge and perhaps his service weapon. Police Chief Martin explained it was customary for cities and counties to give badges and duty firearms in the same way retiring fire fighters receive their badges and helmets from his inquiries around the state. He reported that the standard award value of $500 for fireman was comparable to the proposed award for Officer Davidson. The Council agreed to the first step in the process—declaring the officer’s weapon and badge as surplus property for donation or purchase—by a 5-2 vote.

At Cleavenger’s urging, the city also got up to date with a community Wildfire Protection Plan, blueprinted from a Lane County Commission plan adopted two years ago. The unanimous adoption opens the door for as much as $10 million in related wildfire prevention grant funds otherwise not available to Oakridge.

To speed up the process, Cleavenger coached the Council through two successive readings requiring unanimous approvals after minimal discussion to avoid having to wait until subsequent meetings. The approved resolution, which required no public input, takes effect in 30 days.

Also, during the meeting, Mayor Hollett offered to set up an online pool to find a workable date and time for a council field trip through the City’s Department of Public works facilities. She said Department head Robert Chrisman has been eagerly waiting an opportunity to show councilors around the department plants and facilities, including water towers—and identifying those which are operational, and which are not.

Councilors also heard encouraging updates on the proposed Special Fire District championed by Mayor Hollett. She reported that a meeting at the fire department was well attended by public officials from Westfir, Oakridge and Hazeldell. She said they all left with a clearer picture of the processes, feasibility and preliminary costs as well as potential benefits to the three governments proportional to the number of properties in each community. Having a special district in place would better position Oakridge to receive up to $10 million in grants for wildfire protection, according to City Administrator Cleavenger. Councilors encouraged him to move quickly on the possibility that the city might identify funds for its share of the district costs. The special district might help alleviate budget constraints based primarily on the cost of Fire and Ambulance services.

Councilor Hooker said she thought it was important to “get this done as quickly as we can” to the vocal support of Mayor Hollett and Councilor Kinyon. Establishment might also help resolve public resistance to the $22 monthly Public Safety Fee. She also reiterated her support for bringing citizens into the unfolding decision process, possibly at an Oct. 8 town hall meeting which could feature guest speakers and specialists.

It would be nice to do the town hall meeting says Hooker, and she will go door to door to get opinions. She thinks adding another committee is premature before a town hall meeting is held. People are going to complain and will not be willing to do this. Having applications at the town hall might be a good way to see if people want to do this. Bringing them to the town hall meeting gives citizens a chance to submit questions and get answers. Kinyon liked Hooker and Whitney’s thinking of not jumping the gun on this. The City would use the town hall time to put information out rather than using the time to hear the community. Kinyon asked Hooker if there is there a way, date, and time when we could put a sheet in the water bill so that people can’t say they didn’t know when it was.

The League of Oregon Cities conference is in Bend on October 7th.  Cleavenger plan to attend.

Cleavenger Asked about what to do for the council meeting on oct 6th, which will be two nights before the town hall meeting.

Police Chief Martin said that during the next few meetings he will bring the new officers to meet the Council and that the new reserve has passed everything. There’s a bunch of stuff the City has to do for homeless related issues. He wants a few councilors to join with him to work on camping agreements and enforcement actions. We have a 10-month leeway for that, he said. Hooker, Whitney and Hollett all volunteer to be part of that, as did Kinyon. He’ll send out a notice and see who can make it.

During public comments, Rusty Akland commented on a town hall meeting. She is hoping that if the city goes to the trouble to have it, that you will have the ability to come up with an answer. Having a decision quickly after that meeting, and how we’re going to have it, and what to do with people who haven’t been paying is her concerns.

Dan Barclay. The public safety fee presentation to realign some contingencies was dismissed by the finance committee. The last meeting discussed enforcement options. He thinks the PSF is less  money than what it costs to cut the grass monthly. Increase rent to pay fee. See what safety fee was used for—adding services, courthouses, or something. $22 is higher but doesn’t add services but is a band-aid to adjust. Do it the right way. Hard to convince victims that they’re better off. Did section 8 renters rents go up? Reach out to landlords. Find out what other PSF were used for. Adult film night at Greenwaters Park – do you need to borrow any adult films?

Meeting adjourned at 8:36 p.m.

Share on your social media:

Comments are closed.

Lane County Libraries The Power of Partnership throughout Lane County Oregon

graphic: Classifieds

GARAGE SALE: Tell folks about your upcoming garage sale here.

LANDSCAPING SERVICES:  It’s that time of year.  Let everyone know what services you have to offer.

JOB OPENINGS: Need to let the community know that you need help. Post your job openings here.

 

OFFICE SERVICES AVAILABLE:  Copying, Scanning, Emailing & Faxing Services are now available at The Herald’s office in Oakridge.
CLICK HERE for details.

graphic: Classified Ad Posting is Now Available - For Sale • Help Wanted • Landscaping • Rentals • Homes for sale • Repairs • Remodeling • and More! - Post your classified ad with us today.

Public and Legal Notices Lane County Highway 58 Oregon

PUBUC NOTICE
Storage Auction
Boxworth Enterprises, LLC
48116 Highway 58
Oakridge, OR 97463
AUCTION AT
Security 58 Storage
48543 Highway 58
Oakridge, OR 97463
July 11th, at 11:00 am
Kristi Ledbetter
Unit6-4
$100 cash refundable deposit required Highway 58 Herald 06/20/24 & 06/27/2024

PUBUC NOTICE
Storage Auction
Boxworth Enterprises, LLC
48116 Highway 58
Oakridge, OR 97463
AUCTION AT
Security 58 Storage
48543 Highway 58
Oakridge, OR 97463
July 11th, at 11:00 am
Ike Smith
Units 1-5 & 4-7
$100 cash refundable deposit required Highway 58 Herald 06/20/24 & 06/27/2024

Crescent RFPD NOTICE OF BUDGET HEARING

NOTICE OF ELECTION OF MAYOR AND CITY COUNCIL MEMBERS CITY OF WESTFIR

Hazeldell Rural Fire Protection District NOTICE OF BUDGET HEARING

Public and Legal Notices Lane County Highway 58 Oregon

Follow H58H on Social Media

The calendar is temporarily disabled due to a rendering error. Please reload the page.