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Westfir City Council Meeting July 1, 2024

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City of Westfir HWY 58 Oregon

By JOY KINGSBURY/for The Herald  —  Connor Knowland, in collaboration with Travel Oregon, Oregon State Parks, and Cycle Oregon, has helped in the development of a marketing plan to designate the Aufderheide as a scenic byway.

A bikeway for the Aufderheide

The purpose of the designation is to stimulate travel throughout Oregon and emphasize overnight stays in Lane County. Each cycler spends an estimated $600 + per trip on overnight cycling experiences. The scenic byway designation for the Aufderheide is expected to be a boon to local economies. There will be an emphases on safety for cyclers, points of interest, scenic backwoods, kiosks, things to do and highlights along the ride, including events bikers may attend, Rides will be planned and there will be information on weather, road conditions, safety information, and generally inform bikers on what to expect along the ride. There will be a “Kick Off” celebration planning a dynamite event to announce the new designation, possibly tied in with Oakridge Tree Planting festival first weekend in May of 2025.

Darin Harbick, Republican candidate for the Oregon House of Representatives is partnering in support of these groups to make this happen. Darin was present at this Council meeting and is very enthusiastic about the Scenic Byway coming to fruition after the third try.

Mayor D’Lynn Williams asked how the traffic would be monitored? Knowland told council, “Ideally to find the organization to link to that produces that information,” then see to it there is a prominent link to that website.

Bobby Archer, Westfir Public Works Director, asked about a paved bike path? Knowland told him the Forest Service has completed paving 100%. They will only market the scenic byway when weather conditions are good. Biking safety is stressed, and riders will be schooled on how to bike on the Aufderheide with auto traffic.

Westfir Council decided against fireworks due to fire season danger. Oakridge had a spectacular show which all Westfir residents could enjoy.

Housing Needs Analysis report

The City of Westfir elected to adopt the City’s Housing Needs analysis, (HNA). Lane Council of Governments agents, Henry Healey, and Gary Darnielle provided the City with the cost estimate to adopt the City’s HNA which was compiled by Cascade Partners in 2023, but unadopted.

It is concluded that Westfir has the capacity to accommodate all housing types with the exception of manufactured home parks. The Westfir Development Code must be amended to permit that type of development in certain zoning districts to comply with ORS 197.296, Section 660-024-0050 (4). However, it is unlikely that Westfir would see development of a manufactured home park due to market conditions and trends. The Housing Need’s Analysis was adopted.

The City Council discussed amendments related to the number of dogs permitted on a property, and dog kennels as a permitted use. The proposed amendment was struck through. This item will be taken up in the future.

Portal shed to get electricity

A proposal from GMD Electric to trench eighteen inches deep from the electrical demarcation to the shed at the Portal, was approved, and will cost the city $3,630.00. It is agreed to do this to provide electricity to the shed.

Westfir Mayor D’Lynn Williams announced that playtime on Sunday evenings in the park, hosted by Amber Meske, is a hit for the kids.

The Watershed Council will hold a work party “Stewardship Day”, August 9th. Councilors are invited to help pull invasive plants and to water newly planted plants. Wallama Restoration will be contracted to do follow up planting and seeding in the Fall and to do invasive removal in the Spring of 2025.They have invited Tribal Groups. The name “Turtle Island” may have to be changed if it is deemed to be offensive to the Tribes.

Students to monitor water loads

Students from Thurston and local Oakridge students will be doing water monitoring to help the City with Total Maximum Daily Load requirements. Mayor Williams will see to it that the students are able to obtain all the necessary information. Thurston students have monitored for the Springfield Utility Board and have experience. It is necessary to take Photo points. The Watershed Council will do this. Councilor Packard asked Bobby Archer, Westfir Public Works Director, about the access road to the water tank. It is grown over and could create an issue with fire. Poison Oak is taking over. Bobby will do a walk-through and some hand brushing. He has an electric weed eater, and hand tools to help during fire season. In the Fall he will mow the entire area. Mayor Williams may be able to coordinate with the Forest Collaborative for the clearing.

City’s high water loss an issue

A Park Management Plan is being drafted to present for review in September 2024. Mayor Williams is doing the history and the little library will be included. The City has high water loss even after adjusting for water line breaks. They are trying to track that down. There are bench marks that need to be met regarding Total Maximum Daily Load. The city needs to finish metering places that have no meters. The water loss includes unmetered usage, which Archer said, “Could be up to 20%,” of the loss.

Westfir needs a representative to fill the city’s seat on the Oakridge Area Fire Safe Council the first Tuesday of each month. Westfir also needs a Representative for the Recreation Committee. Interested persons can check the city’s website.

Westfir gets input to LOC’s agenda for State projects

The League of Oregon Cities has established an online ballot where each city gets five votes for that city’s highest priorities for the Oregon Legislature to act upon. The Legislature has provided a 23-item list from which cities may choose. The ballots are due in September and Westfir Mayor Williams will lead a discussion on this in the July council work session.

The city copied Hazeldell’s design plan for the Westfir Fire Station, thanks to John Milandin and Councilor Packard. This is a basic plan to work from. There has been no word from the property owner on the proposed site for the Fire Station.

Bobby Archer, reported no problems with water delivered or wastewater treated in June. Total rainfall was 1.2”. Archer was not able to obtain last yrs. comparison. Archer commented on the work of Bill Desser. “The Portal Looks Great!” He is very happy with Mr. Desser’s work.

Josh, Assistant Public Works Director, is doing fantastic and documenting all properly. Archer will evaluate his work and report to council after the probationary period.

City Clerk/Recorder, Nicole Tritten received a contract from Knox Contracting for the installation of new security cameras at Portal Park which includes Starlink installation with no annual licensing fees. Starlink offers sufficient download and upload speeds for the City’s purpose. Council approved the contract.

Ms. Tritten expressed some concern about the DEQ Loan agreement and has some questions to be answered prior to implementing that Agreement.

City gets a handle on cat population

Councilor Edward Johnstone told Council that the cat population he has been working on seems to be winding down. Five cats are left and all are available for adoption. Johnstone is setting up a drop trap and hopefully will trap all five and get them into the system.

Council will hold a September 2024 City Council meeting on Tuesday, September 3rd.

Council meetings are open to the public. Meetings are held on the first Monday of each month at City Hall, unless otherwise announced, A sign-up sheet for public comment is available.

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

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