Front Page, Oakridge/Westfir

Oakridge City Council meeting February 16, 2023

Oakridge City Hall Herald photo

By GARY CARL/for The Herald  —  Leading off with New Business, the council voted in a 4 to 2 vote to appoint Christina Hollett to fill the seat vacated by Audy Spliethof.
Councilors Kinyon, Hooker, Coker & Bjarnson voted for Ms. Hollett; Councilor Tarman & Mayor Cutchen voted for Mr. Grant.

Thank you Sarah Altemus-Pope…

The City owned reader board located at the Oakridge Fire Station needs replacement. South Willamette Solutions, a partner nonprofit that manages Oakridge Air, has worked with the City Administrator and Lane Regional Air Protection Agency (LRAPA) to secure funding to upgrade readerboards for both the City and the Oakridge School District. 100% funding of $37,279 has been secured for the City’s readerboard. Good job Sarah!

Thank you Travel Lane County…

The guest speaker at tonight’s meeting was Andy Vobora, vice president for stakeholder relations at Travel Lane County (TLC). As the Destination Management Organization (DMO) for all of Lane County, the TLC staff of 22 people focuses on attracting visitors to rural cities as well as the metro area. Ranging from the Pacific Ocean to Willamette Pass and up the McKenzie River, there is a lot of territory to cover. The TLC staff members specialize in such areas as digital marketing and destination development. Travel Lane County works directly with community tourism committees and Chambers of Commerce.

Travel Lane County is primarily funded through Transient Lodging Tax (TLT) which visitors pay as part of their overnight stay.* Cities receive a portion of these funds to spend on tourism related investments locally. Mr. Vobora provided a breakdown of the allocations. Vobora shared some trends in the hospitality industry, covering the pandemic years and up to 2022. As expected, there was a sharp drop in spending and travel in general. In Lane County, the recovery was most remarkable at the coast. Where Florence has exceeded prior records in revenue and visitors, the Eugene/Springfield metropolitan area had a strong rebound in 2022, even before the World Athletic Championships in July.

Counselors thanked Mr. Vobora for informing them of the TLC’s mission and activities.

Please don’t park here…

People have been parking outside of Nancy Kelly’s residence and blocking ingress and egress to her property. To alleviate this problem, The council approved the painting of yellow “No Parking” markings outside of her residence. The estimated cost to be under $100.

Another day another dollar…

The Fiscal Year 23-24 Budget Calendar was approved with the slight modification that meetings would start at & 7pm instead of 6 pm. The Budget Committee will approve the budget and specify the rates of each ad valorem tax levy during one of the above meetings. More/less meetings may be needed.

Realtor of Record update…

James Cleavinger, the City Administrator, with the legal advice of the city attorney, informed the Council that the RFP for a Realtor of Record could only be invalidated for one of two reasons: A) if the original RFP applicant did not properly complete the proposal or, B) if negotiations with the applicant were unsuccessful. Since the Proposal submitted by the applicant was properly completed, another RFP could not be generated by the city unless the negotiation of terms was unsuccessful. The CA will contact the applicant and attempt to negotiate the terms of the agreement. He will report back the council next month.

And the city Recorder is…

There was a convoluted discussion regarding the City Recorder issue. In the end, the City appointed Ms. Jackie Taylor to the position and delegated supervisory authority to the CA.

The following appointments were made to various committees:
1. Douglas Leander RTMP/TRT Committee;
2. Kelly Wynant OEDAC;
3. David Ackland Special Fire District Subcommittee;
4. Su Stella RTMP-TRT Committee;
5. Norine “Tink” Marquardt Public Safety and WAC Committees

Sara Altemus Pope’s application to be appointed to the OEDAC Committee was
denied because as Councilor Hollett pointed out, Ms. Pope was not a resident of
Oakridge.

A rudderless Library Board…

Mayor Cutchen proposed appointing newly appointed Councilor Hollett to the
Library Board, however, she rejected that appointment and stated “I would rather
not… there are some other areas I am more interested in … let somebody else do
that.”

* It has been suggested, incorrectly, in the past that the lodging establishments themselves pay
the Transient Lodging Tax. They do not, they simply collect this tax from visitors and pass it on to
the county.

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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