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WESTFIR CITY COUNCIL MEETING MONDAY MARCH 4, 2024

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City of Westfir HWY 58 Oregon

 

By JOY KINGSBURY/for The Herald  —  The City Council heard a request for funds from Michelle Emmons McPharlin for Transient Room Tax Funds for the Cascade Cream Puff, LLC/Alpine Epic XC Mountain Bike Race, to be held on June 15, 2024. Council awarded $2,700 for the event.

Michelle gave a report on trail work on Cloverpatch and Alpine trails, an effort to connect the town trails to make access to outside trails without transport.  Michelle is applying for grant funds to replace the planks on the Memorial Tharp Bridge.

Amy Kelley, representing the Keg and Cask Festival, asked Westfir Council for room tax monies in the amount of $2,500. The event is to take place August 10th, 2024, and is the primary fund raiser for our local Food Box.  The council agreed to that amount from the Rural Tourism Marketing Program.

The first Easter Egg Hunt in four years will take place with a big splash.  Planned are a Prize Table, Craft Table, Easter puzzle, A surprise guest, a bird house raffle, an “I Spy Egg Hunt,” and a Surprise Gift.  Volunteers are to set up at 8:00 a.m., Saturday the 30th, and the celebration will begin at 10:00 a.m. Residents Barb and Bill Desser are spearheading the event.

The City of Westfir cannot sponsor a Neighborhood Watch since the Police Department(s) are no longer able to accept liability for this.  Neighborhood Watch programs can be formed independently with a responsible liaison to the local Police Department.

Mobile Crisis Services of Lane County is launching a mobile Crisis Services Team to expand behavioral health crisis care across Lane County, to Oakridge and Westfir.  They will serve all Lane County residents, regardless of age, insurance status, or location in the County. Vehicles have been purchased and are being retrofitted, policy and procedure established, and positions have been posted. Twelve-hour, daily, year-round coverage will be allotted to Oakridge/Westfir, and Lowell.  They will be able to transport persons when necessary to County facilities. For inquiries about the project, contact  [email protected].

The City of Westfir will join Oakridge in opposition to the proposed Old Hazeldell Quarry on TV Butte in a letter to the Lane County Board of Commissioners.

Volunteer events are planned for the Turtle Island boat launch area on March 26th and on April 6th for community planting.  April 27th will be the Westfir City Nature Challenge, and volunteers from the High School will be at the boat launch on April 9th ,22nd, and 30th to help with the project.

The city held Executive Sessions to consider the employment of a public employee on February 5thand again, February 16th.

Mayor, D’Lynn Williams announced a new hire to the city. Joshua Nelson, Relief City Operator, has been employed for a six-month introductory period, and is doing well.

The city will consider installing cameras and lights at the Portal to prevent vandalism.  They will opt for as user-friendly a system as possible for the operator.

Resident Corrina Hunt has an unusually high water bill due to an undetected water leak which council agreed to reduce from the stratosphere down to $379.00.  The city offered Corrina a payment plan for this amount. Corinna expressed her thanks to council.

City Clerk and Recorder, Nicole Tritten, will attend a class on Local Budget Law Training. She remarked that attending in person was so much more beneficial to her than online training.

Former Westfir Mayor, Melody Cornelius, answered Westfir City’s recent request for professional services for the Portal Rest Area Maintenance Worker position.  Melody was employed by the city in that position previously, and when she needed to resign, it was on excellent terms with positive performance reviews.  She was first choice for the current position, which was offered to her at the rate of $15.50 per hour.  She asked for a higher wage.  There was no counteroffer from the city, but, instead, the Council voted to hire Mr. William Desser to the position at the rate of $16.00 per hour.

Melody Cornelius addressed the City Council at the end of this meeting via Zoom.  Her comment to Councilors, were;

“I am making a public comment and do not wish to engage when I am done.  The current City Council has put Westfir in a position to be liable for discrimination.  Whatever your reason, personal or otherwise, is of no consequence if and when I choose to pursue a claim.  Bottom line, you offered a qualified woman who was first choice, $15.50 per hour for the Portal Maintenance position, which she previously held and resigned from on good terms.  She declined the offer and asked for a higher wage.  Instead of making a counter offer, council voted to offer the position to the second choice, a man, for $16.00 per hour.   $.50 more than you offered a woman. And, with that, I am done.”  Signed, Sincerely, Melody Cornelius.

Council meetings are open to the public and take place at City Hall on the first Monday of each month.  There is a hybrid method of attending which is listed on the website.  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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