October 29, 2021
This week has been a merry go round! Fast paced and lots of stuff going on. Great City Council meeting on Tuesday night. I’m trying to keep things in the air with all of the departments, particularly those without leadership right now. Thanks to the city council and our department heads we are keeping things going. I appreciate their patience while we all try to wear a lot of hats.
Recruitments are extremely promising. I’m looking at the new department heads as a reset for our staff team. I am feeling more confident that we are getting some top-notch people in here that can continue on with the City Council vision.
Airport Committee - I put out the Airport Committee agenda which meets on Monday night.
Another Home! - Another Housing Incentive Application was received this week. This one is going up next to that new house on SW 14th. That brings us to 23 applications for new construction this year to date.
Acting Chief – Lieutenant Cooper will be acting chief until I can get a temporary acting chief. I have been in conversation with OACP about an interim chief. I am interviewing someone on Monday. He’s a retired chief with many years of experience. Lt. Cooper will need the extra hands in the Police Department.
Transitional Shelter – The transitional housing shelter got funding through the end of the winter season. They are making a few touchups and doing preventative maintenance on the shelters. They hope to open in November.
Engineering Services Roster – Our City Engineer Paul Woods got out an engineering on-call services contract. If you know of any engineering or surveying companies who would like to do work for the city, please share the hyperlink. https://www.ontariooregon.org/engineering.html
Ribbon Cuttings – We had a very nice crowd to cut the ribbon at Beck Kiwanis Tennis Courts. The Community School brought some of their tennis athletes. Much thanks to the Public Works Department and Chief Leighton for helping with the leaves and water from the overnight rain before the ribbon cutting. They got it cleaned up great for the photo op.
Prison Advisory Committee (PAC) – I attended our quarterly meeting with the SRCI PAC. There are a lot of good things going on at SRCI and I was able to share all the great things the city council is accomplishing.
Chamber Board – Chief Leighton and I attended the monthly chamber board meeting. Once again, I was able to share a lot of the great accomplishments of the City Council. People seemed genuinely excited about the tennis courts.
OCP North/South Trail – I kept following up about our North South Trail and finally got the attention of the person at ODOT. He apologized for dropping the last communication I sent him in September. He had lost track of the agreement. The short version is that we are hopefully moving forward again.
City Attorney – I have been in contact with an attorney interested in being the next City Attorney. She is still committed to submitting a letter of interest. We will have something to Council for the November 9, 2021 meeting.
Community & Economic Development
Unfortunately, Community Development had to have their office closed this week with the exception of a few hours from our part time staff due to Covid. They left messages on their phones to contact them by email and cell phone to continue business the best they could.
Our full-time Building Official has been doing what she can from home but is limited. Fortunately, our other Building Official has been keeping building inspections going.
Dan Cummings finalized the annexation ordinance for another rezone which is on the Agenda for the November 9th council meeting as well as some other items.
We are working on three more hangers at the airport which will make a total 14 new hanger leases this year if finalized.
Dan is working with Larry and Tori in getting the final documents prepared for the property purchase and construction easement for the Tapadera Lift Station.
Dan has been working on 8 Land Use Actions in different phases of completion.
This week the command staff processed various administrative investigations and processes that needed to be completed prior to Chief Romero’s official retirement on 10-29-21.
Staff worked with a contracted vendor which installed security surveillance cameras in the OPD Evidence room. This will allow the OPD Evidence Room Audit to continue into the next phase and provides new security controls for OPD’s evidence facility.
Chief Romero appointed Detective Ben Esplin to the rank of “Acting Sergeant” to fill a significant gap in staffing shortages within the OPD leadership ranks.
10-27: OPD investigations unit and the county’s Major Crimes Task Force assisted Caldwell, Idaho Police in locating an attempted murder suspect that was residing in Ontario. After a brief surveillance, the suspect was followed out of the area and arrested without incident just outside the city limits. Suspect will be extradited to Idaho.
10-28: SRO Elizondo, Chief Romero, and Code Enforcement Officer Rick Reyna participated in a “trunk or treat” event at OHS. The event was well attended by community members.
10-29: participated in a “trunk or treat” event at the FRCC in support of the Boys and Girls Club of Ontario.
Fire & Rescue
Chief met with project representatives about water supply issues near NW 8th Ave and Fortner. Chief met with the administration of Four Rivers School about some inspection documentation and possible remodeling that may take place. The State Fire Marshal and Chief met at Four Rivers School to look at the possible changes and did a follow up inspection at OCCDC.
Some of the staff did driver operator training. The normal Tuesday night training was vehicle extrication with the battery powered hydraulic tools.
Adam and Chief attended a couple of ribbon cuttings for some exciting improvements in our city. The repairs and reopening of Beck-Kiwanis Park tennis courts and opening of Elevation 2150 on SW 4th ave. 10/28,29 some of the staff participated in the Trunk or Treat events at Ontario High School and the Boys and Girls Club held at Four Rivers Cultural Center.
1021 SE 9th Ave #52 The staff responded to a mobile home fire that was started by inappropriate cooking. The fire was contained quickly and contained to just the kitchen area. The crews contained the fire, checked for extension, and ventilated the house and then did an investigation to the cause. Rescue 1 responded to a cooking fire at 995 Manor Way. The fire was out upon their arrival and the tenant told them she had left some food on the stove.
The Public Works Department continue to have No Reportable Accidents in 154 days without incident.
Operations (Streets and Facilities)
Annual Citywide Catch Basin cleaning continuing with citywide street sweeping.
Two Funerals were conducted, and mulching operations continue in the Parks. They are also completing final completion of the system-wide ‘winterizing’ (i.e., irrigation shut-down) efforts.
Staff are coordinating efforts with the Rotary Club for Laxson Park’s four-(4) new trash receptacle installations.
Water Utility (Treatment and Distribution)
Efforts in the delivery of water treatment chemicals (Ferric Chloride) to meet water production demands have leveled off. Clarifier No.1 cross collector was repaired. A spill response training was completed this week. Bacteria sampling and testing for Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) and nitrates is being conducted. Crews completed the relocation of the 3” water line on Fortner Street.
Wastewater Utility (Treatment and Collection)
Skyline Farms lessee ceased irrigation. Winterizing of the system continues including booster stations. Replacement efforts of micro-chlor cell commencing. Plant sampling of Total Suspended Solids (TSS), Nutrient and Biological Oxygen Demand (BOD) commenced. We are in the final month of Arizona State University COVID Testing Study and in our spare time providing assistance to Water Treatment Plant Crew members on Clarifier No.1 cross collector.
Merkley’s Field Assistant Visit – We are meeting with Jessica Keys from Senator Merkley’s Office to see the Tater Tot Trail Head and also the take off. We are meeting on Tuesday.
Fly-in – The fly in was a great success. Lots of planes and lots of people.
IGA for North/South Trail Project – Is drafted and then sent to Oregon Parks & Recreation Department an Intergovernmental Agreement for the North/South Trail Refinement Project. This is the $75,000 grant we received from the Oregon Community Paths program.
Planning Commission –On Monday night we had great participation from the residents who live around the proposed planned development for senior housing. The Planning Commission approved a recommendation to you. The meeting went about 3 hours due to the participation and turnout.
Tech Fair at the Ag Fair – We will be having a booth at the ag fair to get some feedback and worked out about the tech fair. Peter is doing the design backdrop for printing and Tori got me a booth.
Safety Grant – Peter did an on-camera interview with the KIVI today about your security grant. Hopefully, this is good publicity.
Public Works Committee – Met on Tuesday and had a productive meeting.
Parks Committee – It was an active meeting on Thursday night for Parks. This committee is awesome. There will be several items on your agenda for the 27th from the Parks Committee including improvements at both Lanterman and Beck Kiwanis Parks. The improvements include sand volleyball court, another dog park, and disc golf course.
ODOT Covid Relief Money – Cities and Counties started receiving COVID relief money from President Trump’s package. Cities and Counties were caught unaware as this money started being dropped in their banks this week. According to ODOT’s website we are slated to receive $172,298.
Downtown Attraction Kickoff 2.0 – We held our second kickoff meeting on Thursday, and I thought it went really well. There are some great thoughts emerging.
AMERESCO – We are in the midst of putting together three projects with Ameresco. One is the lighting project and then we have a project in the water and waster funds. Two of these have some energy savings, but they have more to do with expanding our capacity to deliver projects. With so many engineering projects going on and capital projects we can use the ESCO project to deliver projects since the state allows us to use that as a streamlined process. We plan to take it to the Public Works Committee on the August meeting and then come to council after that. So, it will most likely not make it to the City Council until September because of the meeting schedule change.
Tater Tots Trail – We got comments back to the ROW specialist today. They said they are ready to execute once we are ok with the agreement. We had a few comments but nothing that is a deal breaker. I think we should have something for approval next week. Good news!
Comprehensive Homelessness Program – I sat down with a few community partners interested in working on this program today and we created a good working plan. We are going to write the concepts into a full-fledge plan. We are co-authoring the plan. I want to share it with our tiny shelter steering committee and the Malheur United Housing Task Force to get feedback from both.
Fire & Rescue
The Chief and I attended a work session for the Malheur communications study that has been worked on since the beginning of this year. Some large improvements were recommended. The chief, myself, Chief Romero, and some of you attended a summit at TVCC for direction for the school in the community and especially in planning for the new medical health building. Some of the staff attended the Snake River Fire Chiefs meeting in Midvale.
The Chief addressed 3 separate neighborhood complaints. Corey’s house on 1300 block of Alameda, Bob’s Treasure Place SW 4th Ave and 6th Ave and SW 12th Street for an obstructed fire hydrant.
The crews trained on high angle rescue operations.
Truck 109 Raised the American Flag for the Antique Plane event held at the airport.
7/9 The crew responded to a false fire alarm at City Hall and the Police Department. 7/10 Multiple crews responded to a lift assist for a large man. 7/12 N. Hwy 201 The crew responded to a vehicle fire that destroyed the engine compartment. They also responded to a separate vehicle fire on I-84 MP 378 this one had little damage. 7/14 351 SW 9th Street Rescue 1 and Chief responded to a commercial alarm at St. Al’s. A smoke detector on the third floor went off but no problem was located. 7/15 1230 SE 14 Avenue Rescue 1 and Chief responded to a large fire reported by the freeway. It turned out to be an illegal burn of a large pile of construction debris.
Staff conducted phase 1 of the OPD evidence room audit, which will provide phase 2 direction for OPD management.
Staff participated in an online demonstration of a crime analysis and tracking software program (Crime IQ) in hopes to expand OPD’s crime prevention and tracking capability. This would enhance OPD’s investigative capacity.
Staff worked with public works to finalize strategies for responding to existing traffic hazards that exist in the northeast section of the city near the Americold corporation.
Staff authored OPD’s second public safety article, which will be published in the local newspaper outlet (Argus Observer).
07-10: OPD responded to a hostile theft suspect at Walmart which resulted in a use of force (Tazing) of the suspect. Fortunately, no injuries to any of the involved officers or suspect.
OPD investigators continue to work diligently to solve a homicide case from the 4th of July, with numerous actions such as witness interviews, surveillance, search warrants, and forensic analysis being conducted to assist with identifying the person(s) responsible for the crime.
The Council stuck out a marathon council session on Tuesday night. They covered a lot of ground.
Calendar - Peter and Tori have been updating the recently revised calendar online with the new meeting dates. Public Works will switch to the third Wednesday in August. For July they will continue to meet on the second Tuesday. Just to remind you again, I will have to miss the second July meeting.
Border Board Bill – The Border Board asked us to send our support for the rural housing initiative to specific members who they need to support the bill. Tori resent the support you already passed to the list provided by the Border Board.
Wayfinding – The bids came in from the re-bidding on Tuesday and they did not change all that much. That is good news. I need to go through the bids and make sure all the boxes are checked before bringing it to you to award. I believe we met all the requirements this time though.
ARPA Funds – Our Leadership Team came up with a proposal for ARPA funds for you (Council) to revise and adopt. This is ultimately your choice; we are just putting together a proposal within the guidelines, so you have a starting point to work from. We try to create it within the framework of your priorities. The state has not yet made application for funds. I believe they are waiting until July 1 for accounting reasons.
Carryover – Staff went through an annual process to review projects that need to be carried over to the new fiscal year. This makes sure that unfinished project budgets get moved forward to the new year.
Bridge Crossing – The mayor, myself, and several staff members met with ODOT and IDOT. We determined that some data collection needs to be done. Without having done any site-specific data, ODOT provided formula numbers for forecasted growth. They acknowledged the weakness of the data and agreed that we should do something to be more precise. The same was true for IDOT, they did not see a need for it in the next 20 years.The marijuana traffic blew away the 20-year forecast already since it was done prior to 2018. So, that may be something we bring to you for consideration. I’m meeting with Jacobs next week to go over their capabilities.
Housing Taskforce – We have been working on the Malheur United Housing Taskforce for two years now. It has been held together by Clayton Crowhurst, the project manager for the Presbyterian Care Home. His project is under construction now and he needs help keeping the committee going. Honestly without him, it would not have stayed active.
Downtown Attraction Refinement – We had a kickoff event for refinement of the downtown attraction with John Kirby, Dan Cummings, me, and Peter. It was a good kickoff.
Airport – Thank you for your support of the STOL Drag Competition. We think this will be a very successful event. We also have someone interested in hosting a speed boat race out at the golf course too. They were looking at it this morning. Basically, they would trench a path from our pond and fill it with our well water. They only need a few feet to race these boats. Kind of a crazy thought!
River Trail – I invited Senator Merkley and Wyden’s Field reps to come see the River Trail. Senator Wyden’s rep can’t come right now but wants to as soon as she has the opportunity. Jessica from Merkley’s Office was very interested. I want to align her coming out with the Council field trip to the River Trail project so that you guys can pitch it to her too.
We have construction all over the city. Goodfellow is starting to shape up with the Commercial Tire on the southwest corner. The 70-unit complex began earthwork this week as well as the 59 unit Presbyterian Care Home project. The new Dutch Brothers broke ground across from Ashley Furniture this week too. And, of course, it’s hard to miss the activity going on for the 170-unit RV park. It’s great to see all the activity particularly in light of the high wood prices.
The Planning Commission met on Monday for a lengthy meeting discussing a planned unit development and an annexation.
Fire & Rescue
Chief attend one for the Four Rivers Healthy Community group.
Chief and the building official did numerous inspections for the new fire sprinkler line being installed on SE 5th Avenue.
6/11 The staff had great training in vehicles and vehicle extrication. 6/12 The staff along with a couple of distinguished guests did hands-on vehicle extrication with the new battery-operated extrication tools. 6/15 Multiple water supply tanks were set up and were used to practice drafting operation with water shuttle. 6/16 Chief attended a class on the mechanical code and how it relates to the fire code.
6/13 7158 Canyon 3 the crews responded to a controlled burn that got out of control. 4436 Highway 201 Rescue 1 crew responded to an illegal burn where the occupant was burning tires without a burn permit. 6/17 Rescue 1 crew responded to a vehicle fire on I-84 MP 372. 6/15,16 Staff responded to some false alarms each day. 6/16 1249 Tapadera The crew responded to a commercial alarm at the hotel with smoke in the hall way. The crew found that the door was left open and the exhaust smoke from a lawnmower had blown into the hallway. 6/17 Multiple crews responded to a vehicle crash where the car left the roadway, went flying off an embankment, and then hit a semi- trailer. The crew used the new battery-operated tools to extricate the patient who was then put on Life Flight. 6/18 Several crews responded to a grass and debris fire that was burning about 5 acres. At the same time a different crew responded to a trailer fire on I-84 MP 376 that burned the wheels off a car-hauler.
Crews continue to work on the Gazebo Relocation Project with staff working on roof re-sealing and site preparation. The contractor will commence in mid-July.
Downtown businesses will be contacted between June 14-18 regarding the Depot Parking Lot Dumpster Project. Potential contractors sent details for quotes for the purpose of budget documentation.
Streets, Stormwater & Traffic Operations
Staff ordered (30) signs & poles for SE 1st & SE 2nd no parking installation. Chip seal equipment is being prepared and crews are continuing with city-wide sign maintenance.
Parks, Facilities and Cemeteries
New chips are being placed in the playground of Beck Park. Crews continue to water downtown planters twice weekly. Last years plantings are doing very well under the current watering schedule. They are looking very healthy.
Staff are picking up flowers at the cemetery and crews from OYCC are continuing to keep weeds down.
Chamber Forum – We hosted the chamber forum from the council chamber this week. I think it went mostly smooth.
SREDA - We had a SREDA meeting on Tuesday morning. Our membership has been very beneficial. They help us with a lot with responses to business leads from the state.
ESPC - We spent a lot of time working on the Energy Savings Performance Contracting project with Ameresco and Public Works.
Tater Tots Trail - Was a lot there was a lot of action on the tater tots trail this week. I spoke with the Department of State lands and the Oregon Parks and Recreation Department. It looks like OPRD wants to tie our acquisition of right-of-way to taking over the State Park. This may be something we need to talk with our legislators about. The Department of State lands gave me applications to file for right of way. There is a piece that is owned by the Department of Transportation so we'll have to work with them also.
Human Resources/Insurance – Peter and I met with Waldo Insurance to go over some transition plans. There is a handing over of the baton that they wanted to be smooth.
Grants – I submitted two grants this week. One was done mostly by Merchant McIntyre. That’s for planning of the north/south trail connector. The other grant I wrote myself was for downtown wayfinding signs. There is a really quick turnaround on the second one.
Budget – Peter, Kari, and I had our budget meeting with Public Works. We went through all of the capital projects.
Jacobs – We met with Jacobs today to begin negotiating a rate with them. We talked about a lot of the impacts on our systems.
Homeless - We continue to make progress in getting the Boise Rescue Mission to help us in Ontario. It’s really encouraging. We are having success moving people in and out of the transitional shelter.
Security Cameras – We have made progress on working with a business downtown to partner on getting security cameras. They would allow us to use their internet connection and we would share the feed for that camera with them. That allows us to help the downtown merchants as well as keep the city secure.
The airport held its first Airport Committee Meeting on Monday night and continued to work on its future development by working through a number of items. However, the main focus was to introduce the new airport manager with the committee and ensure a beneficial relationship moving forward.
The airport recently discovered, through standard airfield inspection, an unauthorized airport access (and subsequent fence damage) that is being handled effectively in conjunction with the Police Department. Both the PD and airport management takes the airport security extremely important.
The airport also held a PDAC meeting with Public Works, and City Planning for a new hangar that is set to be built in the very near future (spring/summer 2021). Lastly, airport management is working closely with its consulting firm regarding the scope and fee for its upcoming master plan. As needed, airport management will quickly notify the council and airport committee of scope, fee, and/or any changes, as they come forth.
Community & Economic Development
Staff reviewed 21 building applications the past couple of weeks and has issued 2 building permits this past week. Three of the permits issued are new single-family homes in the new subdivision called “Brockside Subdivision” with more new homes being reviewed. This is the subdivision near the DMV and cemetery.
Staff is working with the developers of the proposed 170 space RV Park with clubhouse on the SE side of town on the Hanigan property along SE 5th Avenue and SE 10th Street and their rezoning of part of the property will be heard in front of the Planning Commission on February 8, 2021.
Staff held 3 PDAC’s this week.
The Planning department is keeping busy processing the 46 land use actions from last year and the 5 so far this year with one being a new Cannabis retail facility making it number 15 if approved.
Staff is still working on all of the code updates and TSP (Transportation System Plan) changes and will bringing the results to the Planning Commission at the April 12 meeting.
The construction has started on the extension of SE Goodfellow Street and the north side of SE 5th Avenue from SE 13th Street to Malheur Federal Credit Union development but has stalled while waiting on obtaining the DEQ 1200C permit required which is a storm water prevention plan.
Staff continues to work on the Project called Ontario Townhouse which received a $5,325,000 LIFT (Local Innovation and Fast Tract) housing project grant and is in the process of reviewing the re-plat of the property for this development.
Staff continues to work with developers on several large projects as well as the developer on the Stellings property that the City accepted their offer and are in their due diligent process.
Staff is working with the developers on the design of Airport Way which will involve the City to construct their half of Airport Way or grant a DIA and approve the developer to construct only a half street as well as the development and construction plans of the Cannabis retail and industrial subdivision on Airport Way.
Fire & Rescue
2/1 The Ontario Chamber started back up their community forums virtually. This was done from the City Council Chambers with the Help of Adam, Peter, and Chief Leighton. The speakers were Sarah Poe and Craig Geddes from Malheur County Health. 2/2 We got to finally get our safety committee back together for some good discussion. 2/3 The staff attended 3 different PAC meetings with the building department and Jacobs members. 2/4 Veronica and Chief attended the Rural Fire District monthly meeting.
2/5 Chief and Building officials met with the facilities manager of MCCDC about a remodel to the classrooms.
2/2 The staff attended a webinar on Causes of Sudden Unexpected Infant Death Syndrome. We also learned tactics and methods to reduce the causes of SUIDS.
1/30, 2/3,4/21 Chief and some staff assisted with three Covid-19 vaccine distribution clinics. They were Saturday at FRCC, Wednesday at Fire Station 2, and Thursday at St. Al’s parking garage. 1/30 The staff participated in a drive by parade at Brookdale Retirement Center.
This week the crews responded on the normal medical calls and 2 false alarms and then a chimney fire.
Feb 1st- Chief Romero worked on updating the city’s non-commercial dog kennel application and approval process. OPD has two pending applications for non-commercial kennel permits.
Feb 1st- Chief Romero granted an interview and ride-a-long to the Oregon Daily News (Bend, OR) who spent a ½ day with the chief observing the Ontario community. The purpose of their news cast was to show some of the community concerns that are created due to drug addiction, homelessness, and the marijuana retail industry.
Weekly- Lt. Cooper finalized the OPD training center roof repair with the city’s vendor and completed OPD’s latest handgun transition for replacement of older OPD weapons.
Feb 4th- Chief Romero attended a 3-hour legal update training seminar regarding Oregon’s Measure 110, which became law on Feb 1st. OPD should not have to make too many procedural adjustments, as a result of the new legislation.
Feb 4th- Chief Romero granted a telephonic interview to a writer from the Cannabis Business Times (GIE Media, Inc. Ohio) regarding the impacts the retail marijuana industry has had on OPD and the Ontario community.
Feb 1st- OPD responded to a traffic collision with injuries at SE 5th Ave and SE 2nd Street The collision was triggered by an operator of a tractor trailer that committed a traffic violation and collided with a passenger car. The elderly passenger in the car sustained severe injuries and was taken to a Boise area hospital via life flight. The case is active and being referred to the District Attorney’s Office for review and consideration of a criminal complaint against the truck driver.
Feb 3rd-OPD responded to a child abuse case in the SW part of the city. The stepfather of a 2-year-old boy was suspected of causing significant injury to the toddler. This case is on-going and the suspect has been charged with various child abuse related felonies. Case was featured in the Malheur Enterprise.
Weekly-OPD responded to some intercepted intelligence of a subject from council, Idaho that was upset with the Ontario, Walmart because he was denied entry when he refused to wear a mask. The subject who is a taco truck vendor used his social media platform to create a call to action for fellow “Patriots” to join him in a mask free shopping intrusion at the Walmart this Saturday at 1:00 p.m. OPD has been in contact with the Walmart management and area law enforcement partners to respond if needed.
Feb 5th- Chief Romero met with the Ontario Train Depot caretakers to conduct an on-site safety walk through to discuss how to best protect this iconic city asset against trespassers and drug activities that had previously been a problem at the location.
A Whole New Council! Well, I thought it was a big change last election, and when Council was all seated up there Thursday night, I thought wow, this is even more change from the last time, there are four Councilors that are new. I am looking forward to working with all of them.
SEACT/NEACT – Dan and I participated in the joint Southeast Area Commission on Transportation (SEACT) jointly with the NEACT (northeast). As we expected and hoped they committed the additional dollars toward the Southeast 5th Avenue project. I expressed the city’s appreciation for the additional funding.
Merchant McIntyre – I had an update call with Merchant McIntyre about our grant writing. They had a meeting with one of the new higher ups at the EDA about our project. They are going to do a preliminary review for which they will give us the most likely match case under which we would be funded. That’s going to be from 20% to 50% or in real dollars that’s a difference of $440k and $1.1 million. I spent some of my time today reaching out to Americold and Dickenson Fry Foods for support letters.
Additional Grants they are working on include:
Grantees for Border Board – We were able to get checks cut for all the Border Board Grantees and one picked it up personally. They greatly appreciated the City’s help.
Homeless Shelter – Our small committee had a meeting with Bill Roscoe who runs the Boise Rescue Mission. It was very informative. They have been doing their shelter for over 50 years so it’s a pretty well-oiled machine. They are entirely funded through private donations. Operations are going well at the shelter now.
COVID – I don’t know if you have noticed, but while the rest of the state is seeing a surge, Malheur County has been going down. Our positivity rate has been steadily declining from 15.4%, to 12.9%, and 12.9% over the last three weeks, which is roughly half of where we were a month ago.
Vaccinations are nearly complete for group 1a, which is the first responders and medical care workers. That includes assisted living facility care takers. The Governor threw in teachers between 1a and 1b so that our teachers can get back to in-class teaching. I think seniors are in the next grouping. It’s not very simple to understand and there is not really a time frame on the general public.
We distributed heaters and tents to 3 more businesses this week. That seems to be greatly appreciated.
Walmart – The City was able to lock up an agreement with Walmart for an easement along the Snake River for the Tater Tot Trail. That’s the first big piece of the puzzle.
Airport – We closed out the Airport fence project with the FAA. It’s been done for a while, but it’s nice to get out from underneath all the reporting requirements to finish it up.
The airport committee met Monday night, but they did not have a quorum, so we just talked briefly about continuing operations until our Airport Manager gets here.
Gazebo – We will probably have to get a company to move the Gazebo being donated from the LeBoutillier’s, or maybe better known as “The Garden Answer” Youtube Channel. The crews looked at it and decided they did not have the right equipment. They have someone coming to look at it on Monday. This is a specific goal in the strategic plan, in addition, to the parks master plan.
Ameresco – This is an energy audit to see if there are some savings, we can garner from making improvements. These energy savings would be guaranteed by the ESCo (Energy Savings Company). We may have a presentation ready for you as early as the 19th, but I need to make sure the financials are in order. I’m meeting with them again next week to go over the package.
Fire & Rescue
The Chief and I attended the Malheur County COVID-19 task force meeting virtually. Some of the staff attended a couple of other meetings for the Rural Fire Board and the county vaccine events.
Fire staff is still being done on Zoom. Staff spent a couple weeks on fire cause and origin, and our medical training on the Lucas CPR machine and IV set ups.
COVID-19 is part of our everyday patient care life right now. We are participating and using Station 2 for COVID-19 testing on 12/29 and COVID-19 vaccines on 1/6 to reduce the outbreak.
12/19 1327 SW. 12th St. single family home structure fire. 12/23 - 375 Dorian / Dorian Place Commercial fire sprinkler system failure. 12/25 1356 SW. 11th St. Gas Leak and I-84 MP 375 a car had oil leak onto the manifold and was smoking. 12/26 - SE. 1st St. and SE. 1st Ave. A piece of heat tape in a gutter downspout was arcing. 12/27 and 1/1 Three times the crews responded to 165 NE. 6th Ave. for fire alarm and fire sprinkler issues. 12/27 - 420 SE. 2nd St. Residential tri-plex structure fire. 12/28 - I-84 MP 375 Homeless camp warming fire and 49 NW. 1st St. Smoke smell. 12/29 - I-84 MP 377 Welcome center and 653 E. Idaho two separate car fires. 1/6 484 NW 1st St. Assist OPD with ladder, and 266 Goodfellow had a broken commercial fire sprinkler line.
Erik Hartley, our newly hired Airport Manager will start officially on January 19.
Testing and interviews will be conducted to fill a Police Officer vacancy on January and 21-22.
Officer Reyna will be assisting with seeking out kennel service options, updated abatement processes and fine matrix, and final data migration from the CEO data platforms.
A new OPD statistics report and was created and shared at the city council meeting. The chief is proud of the department for exceeded their Part -1 crime reduction goal for 2020.
Jan 6th- Chief Romero participated in a COVID-19 update seminar hosted by the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP). Dr Anthony Fauci MD, IACP attorney Jack Collins and two large city chiefs provided information and legal perspectives regarding the COVID-19 vaccination campaigns taking place throughout the country. Chief Romero distributed the video and information to all OPD staff.
Jan 7th- Lt. Cooper and IT-office Manager Sheri Smith responded to a moderate OPD radio failure. Through their coordination with the city’s communications contractor, OPD was able to operate temporarily from a borrowed MCSO radio frequency until OPD’s main channel could be repaired. It was learned that the radio antenna located at the hospital was failing and was the cause of the radio failure. OPD is working with the communications contractor on a long-term repair strategy.
Jan 3rd – OPD assisted the Sheriff’s Department and State Police on the tragic domestic homicide that was outside the city boundaries.
Jan 7th- OPD responded to a report of a mentally distraught man that was making verbal threats to family members and anyone that attempted to approach him inside their home. OPD was successful in assisting the family members out of the home and preventing any physical confrontation with the subject. OPD was able to use time as a strategy and took the subject into custody, a few hours later once the hostile subject fell asleep. The subject was arrested for various outstanding felony warrants and threats he launched at his family members.
Jan 8th-OPD responded to a vehicle crash with injury in front of the Les Schwab Tire Center on east Idaho. A motorist suspected of driving distracted rear ended a stopped vehicle causing the distracted driver’s vehicle to overturn in the roadway.
This week, Code enforcement operated with reduced staffing due to the departure of OPD’s second CEO.
Officer Reyna focused on city-wide traffic hazard concerns, data collection for abated properties, and updating issued lien records.
Street sweeping is on-going for the next few weeks. We repaired 1 water service that was hit by a contractor. Crews are completing annual maintenance on the Bar screen at SRCI, replacing bearing and seals. Crews also delivered tents, heaters, and propane to business that requested them.
Crews finished the railing on the Beck Park Bridge. Painting will be done when weather permits later in the spring.
The chlorine generator heater failed. Staff replaced the heating controller along with a contract electrician. Crews continued aerator electrical work with Fruitland Electric.
All Ozone HVAC systems have been installed. The HVAC unit at the PW shop that failed was replaced.
Parks and Cemeteries
Staff continue to work on the new trash cans installation. Staff is also trimming trees and repairing picnic tables and benches.
A rental flow meter was installed at the Tapadera Lift station to determine capacity. Staff pulled the flow meter out and will review the data collected. Staff continue to work on the CIP budget. An upgrade will be needed for the new development going in.
Hearings Officer – A solicitation was put out for a Code Enforcement Hearings Officer.
Tater Tots Trail – Dan was super helpful in getting some drawings updated for the Walmart easement acquisition for the trail, that Walmart requested.
School – We worked collaboratively with the 8C School district this week to help keep some dogs off the Aiken school grounds. The dogs on the school property were tormenting a dog living behind the school and its owner.
Airport Manager Replacement – We conducted an interview cut for applicants for the airport manager job. The first-round interviews have been scheduled.
Graffiti - Councilor Rodriguez let me know about the graffiti on the underpass Tuesday morning. I’m happy to report that public works got it painted over the same day. The tagging on the utility box wrap was also removed without damaging the artwork.
Energy Savings Study – I met with Ameresco to go over the energy savings project. We looked through the list together. We are going to have a final meeting with Jacobs before coming to the City Council.
Homeless Shelter – We are having a weekly conference call for the homeless transitional shelter every Wednesday. It seems to be moving with a little clearer direction at this time. The critical path right now is the electrician. We got some commitments from our faith-based community for items needed for residents. They stand at ready to respond to help needed as very willing partners.
The repair to the perimeter fence at the north end of the field that was damaged after a police chase has been completed. The Airport rotating beacon is out of service again and a NOTAM has been issued. We are looking into a more reliable light. A set of plans to construct a new hangar has been turned in and will be reviewed by the Airport Committee Monday night as a first step toward approval.
Toby, Dan B. and Dan C. met with the FAA to discuss the master planning effort. They reported that it was a good meeting and we should be fine to move forward. We will be looking for a final scope of work and budget needs for approval of the agreement with JUB.
Fire & Rescue
11/16/20 Some of the COVID-19 safety team met to work on the new OSHA rules and requirements that have come out for dealing with COVID-19. 11/19 Chief and others attended the weekly county COVID-19 Task Force Meeting.
11/18 Chief met with the fire sprinkler company at Presbyterian care facility to work on a plan for the large remodel. 11/19 Chief did Knox Box follow ups at 3 dispensaries, and TVCC Vo-Tech. Chief worked with Manager at Marshalls for Occupancy limits, due to temporary COVID-19 restrictions.
Due to the group restrictions from COVID-19 our training has been cancelled for a couple of weeks.
11/17 Chief assisted with the county COVID-19 testing at the fairgrounds.
This week the staff responded to a few burning complaints, some were illegal burns and others just nuisance reports. 11/14 The crew responded to an old, abandoned house on fire on SE 18th Avenue. This was in the middle of an open field and was just being used as a flop house by transients that had started a fire and it caught the structure on fire. The owner asked that we let it burn down, and we allowed that. 11/17 Rescue 1 responded for a gas smell at a business on SW 1st Street. They shut off the gas and found no signs of leaks or unsafe gas levels, but they had Cascade Gas respond to check further.
The Airport Manager recruitment window has closed. Staff will perform initial interviews for the top nine candidates of the recruitment. Candidates have been scheduled for December 2 and 4.
Nov 17th-OPD hosted a department training day for sworn and reserve personnel. Training provided legal updates and re-certification for several state mandated areas of training such as ethics, Crisis Intervention Tactics, DUI enforcement, and non-lethal force options.
Nov 18th- Chief Romero and the OPD Detective unit granted an interview and case review to the Malheur Enterprise for an unsolved homicide case from 2019. The Malheur Enterprise will run a story on this case in an effort to trigger some public assistance for additional leads and information that could assist with solving the open case.
Nov 19th- Chief Romero met with HR Manager Hall to develop a job classification and bulletin for an upcoming employment opportunity for Code Enforcement Hearings Officer position(s). HR Manager Hall produced a compelling job solicitation flyer and position description.
Nov 19th- Chief Romero attended a Boys and Girls Club planning and board meeting. Chief Romero was recommended for and accepted the chair position for the Boys and Girls Club’s sustainability committee.
Nov 20th- Chief Romero reports that OPD’s city credit card was fraudulently obtained and used in the state of Texas recently. All steps have been taken to ensure the city is not liable for the expenditures and the fraudulent activity will be reported to the appropriate Texas law enforcement authorities. Chief Romero will use this OPD experience to remind the public (Via OPD Facebook) about best practices for reducing the odds of becoming a fraud victim.
Nov 16th- OPD responded to a shooting call at a business in downtown. The investigation revealed that the business owner accidentally discharged his personally owned handgun and was struck in the leg. The owner was transported to a Boise area hospital via life-flight. Injury was non-life threatening.
Nov 16th- OPD responded to the Walmart parking lot regarding a frantic female yelling that her father had jumped off the East Idaho Avenue bridge into the Snake River. OPD’s investigation revealed that the female was having either drug-induced or mental illness induced hallucinations. The female’s family responded to the scene and were able to take her to a local hospital for a psychiatric evaluation.
Nov 18th- OPD conducted a joint agency crime impact operation in efforts to curtail illicit drug related crimes.
Nov 19th-OPD responded to the Pilot Travel Center regarding two chronic, drug addicted homeless individuals that were already being sought by OPD. Both subjects stole from the location and were contacted nearby. One suspect surrendered without incident, while the other fled on foot and eventually brandished a knife at the officers who attempted to detain him. After a brief standoff and use of non-lethal force, the second suspect was arrested by OPD with the assistance of County and State law enforcement partners.
Nov 19th- Chief Romero, accompanied by city manager Brown responded to a downtown business regarding a complaint of the business not following current COVID 19 state mandates. The business owners were contacted and provided with educational information.
Nov 20th-Chief Romero conducted evening patrol operations with the night shift, to address no seatbelt and DUI violations. OPD responds to a high amount of traffic collisions and is looking to create a safer highway environment for all motorist during the upcoming holiday season.
This week, code enforcement officers spent a substantial amount of time training and working on data migration for a newly procured data processing platform (iWorQ) that will be used by the city and OPD code enforcement. This new platform will improve work efficiency and communication between code enforcement and community members.
Code enforcement responded to two dog bite events this week involving the same dog and bite victim. The owner has been issued a citation for the identified violations.
CEO Reyna assisted Public Works with a report of a homeless camper who was trespassing on nearby lands and whos’ vicious dogs chased public works employees as they passed by.
Street sweeping is on-going for the next few weeks. Crews continue fall maintenance of storm water catch basins around the city. Crews installed a new level sensor in the Bench Reservoir tank. Leaves are being picked up.
River Pump #1 is repaired and waiting for installation by the contractor. WesTec Unit #1 is out of service until new media beads are received.
The bio-solids removal contractor has removed 2,543 dry tons of biosolids from Lagoon #1 since dredging began Oct. 26th.
DMRQA Study 40 has been completed and submitted to the State.
The air handling wheel motor for the City Hall HVAC system has failed. A replacement has been sourced and ordered.
Parks and Cemeteries
Staff continue mulching activities at Beck and Lions Parks. The Columbarium has been installed at Evergreen Cemetery.
A rental flow meter will be installed at the Tapadera Lift station to determine capacity.
COVID – Well I think the new restrictions kind of hit everyone with a gasp of wind. We were hoping not to see something like this again. I’m sure you feel the same as I, worried about businesses and workers getting by. The two week “pause” goes into effect on Wednesday.
Airport Master Plan - We had a good start towards getting the Airport Master Plan underway. Our engineer is going to communicate with the FAA. We don’t think there will be as much red tape since this is funded through the Border Funds and not FAA dollars.
Engineering and Capital Projects - We met with our public works staff this week to go over our capital projects and to talk about getting the new projects underway as the Council authorized me to do last week.
Merchant McIntyre – I met with Merchant McIntyre a few times last week. They are making some progress on our grants and we opened up a new discussion with Northwest Housing Alternatives about a health care grant.
Yiftee – Peter has been working with the Small Business Development Center on a gift card program for local businesses. The SBDC built their website, and it looks like they are going to get it launched in time for the holiday shopping season, which is perfect timing because of our “pause”, our businesses will need every help we can get them. Find out more at www.shopfourrivers.com/.
OCCMA Board of Directors - I participated in the Board retreat for the Oregon City Managers Association, as a new member of the Board of Directors, for a portion of Thursday and some of Friday. It’s a great insight to have more contact with my peers around the state.
Homeless Shelter – We worked throughout the week with Community in Action and the property owner for the relocation of the shelter. We are helping bridge some communication gaps.
Councilor’s Elect – I reached out to our Councilors Elect to schedule an orientation and also to help them get scheduled for the new elected officials training through the League of Oregon Cities.
Dan gave Al Cablay a tour the airport and briefly talk about snow removal this winter. The discussion included the surplus of old airport and golf course items.
On Monday the Beacon Light was restored to working order and the NOTAM was lifted after nearly two weeks of being down.
The cold weather is closing the window on our construction this fall. A meeting set for this Friday morning with the Airport Manager, JUB engineering, and the construction team will decide whether to continue or to stop for the year.
The Airport served just under $100 million worth of transient aircraft this week.
Fire and Rescue
The Deputy State Fire Marshal and Chief did a follow up inspection at the airport for one of the Ag services staging area. The building official and Chief did a final inspection on the exit gates at Wal-Mart in conjunction with the fire alarm system. We also did a couple of other inspections at residential projects and at the Presbyterian housing project.
The Chief along with other investigators worked on finding the cause of a garage fire.
The staff did a tour of the Americold plant and trained on the dangers of an ammonia leak or fire. Veronica did a train the trainer class on proper lifting techniques and protecting the back.
11/8 Rescue 1 responded to a gas leak at 41 North Dorian Drive.
11/9 The crew responded to a dumpster fire at 881 North Oregon Street.
11/10 Multiple crews responded to a garage fire with other structures threatened. The fire was contained to a small amount of the structure and some of the contents. There is heavy smoke damage to all the structure and contents.
Nov 9th- Chief Romero issued a Press Release (20-11-001) regarding an Invasion of Privacy incident that occurred at the Ontario Walmart on two prior dates. The case is still active and pending the adjudication process.
Nov 10th- Chief Romero attended an online meeting with the Malheur County Law Enforcement Executive group. Potential impacts to the region from the passing of measure 110 were briefly discussed. COVID 19 concerns were also discussed due to the implementation of the OSHA COVID 19 Temporary Rule.
Nov 12th- Chief Romero attended an online Malheur County COVID 19 Taskforce meeting. All agencies confirmed their compliance with current state and county recommendations as well as preparation for the launch of the OSHA Temporary Rule. Lt. Cooper (OPD) is working on an agency safety plan for OPD and conformed OPD’s procurement of a portable sanitizing device.
Nov 13th- Chief Romero issued an agency directive to all OPD personnel, regarding the Oregon OSHA COVID 19 Temporary Rule created to reduce the spread of corona virus at the workplace.
Nov 10th-Chief Romero spent some time out on patrol with OPD officers and assisted officers with the search for some known drug offenders and theft suspects. One suspect also has an outstanding felony arrest warrant. OPD recovered some suspected stolen property and impounded the abandoned RV the suspects use to transport large amounts of marijuana and during their criminal activity. The search continues for the wanted suspect.
Nov 13th-OPD continues to respond to calls regarding homeless subjects trespassing or causing disturbances in the east section of the city. Calls vary from traffic hazards (subjects walking in roadway) to subjects trespassing onto the DHS property and surrounding areas.
Nov 12th- OPD CE conducted four abatement appeal hearings for four different appellants. All hearings were resolved during their scheduled allotted time.
This week, CE officers responded to some animal control related calls due to the dogs being reported as vicious or dangerous towards other dogs and pedestrians.
Jacobs staff are working on the Beck Park Bridge repair. They poured wood stabilizing epoxy in the rotting beam sockets and installed additional support brackets under each beam end. Once the epoxy cures, they will continue with the repair.
Crews continue fall maintenance of storm water catch basins around the city. Crews have been flushing blind water distribution lines to ensure stagnant water is not accumulating. Street sweeping is on-going for the next few weeks.
River Pump #1 is repaired and waiting for installation by the contractor. WesTec Unit #1 is out of service until new media beads are received.
The bio-solids removal contractor has removed 1622 dry tons of biosolids from Lagoon #1 since dredging began October 26th. Jacobs staff performed solids mapping of the west end of Lagoon #1 and validated that the contractor has removed the amount of solids targeted. The bio-solids dredging moved to the east end of Lagoon #1 after Jacobs staff moved all the aerators to the west end of the lagoon.
Pigeons are infesting several City owned buildings. Jacobs is researching ways to control them.
Parks and Cemeteries
Staff continue mulching activities at Beck and Lions Parks. Several Jacobs staff members have been attending a training webinar to ensure timely renewal of their pesticide application licenses.
Capital improvement requests are being developed for the upcoming annual budget process.
Well, it was a good start to the week with the notification from the Border Board to fund the Airport Master Plan by $200,000.
New Video – Peter finished a video about the city’s recent capital projects and has posted it on our website. To take a look at it, click here. It’s really well done.
New Councilor Orientation – I met with Councilor Hart early in the week for the City New Councilor Orientation. I’ll be reaching out to Mr. Kirby, Baker, and Melendrez to schedule an orientation with them over the next four weeks.
Legislative Policy: It’s that time of year where we need to start putting together the legislative program for the city.
YIFTEE – Peter has been working with the Small Business Development Center, particularly with Chris Holloway and Andrea Testi, to get a local business gift card program. This will hopefully give our local businesses a boost for the holiday shopping.
Shovel Ready Engineering – I will be meeting with Jacobs staff next week to start the process of getting some engineering projects ready, as council directed Thursday night.
COVID-19 – The governor asked for a two week pause on social activities today at her press conference. A few highlights. Pause on long-term care facility visits. Does not change any rules for faith-based gatherings. Staff need to work from home to greatest extent possible. Limit social interactions to your own household. For the full press conference click here. Governor Brown said, “If we don’t stop the spread, further closures are imminent.”
City Funding – Our first two rounds of funding for business relief have expired. So, we are left with our own program.
Senior Center – I investigated the senior center and their HVAC has been fixed. I’ve been working with Stan’s Heating; however, and they have a product that can be added to the air handler that says it will capture 99% of viral airborne pathogens. We are working on estimates for that work.
Trace Contacting App –The state is looking at an exposure notification system by smart phone. A study in Washington showed that a 15% usage of the smart phone app correlated with a 15% dip in the transmission rate. You would just get a text notifying you if you were exposed to someone with COVID 19. The map below shows the state surge for the winter.
Construction is continuing on the taxiway and hold apron.
A virtual meeting with the FAA has been scheduled for next Monday as we look at airport improvement plans over the course of the next five years.
Land/commercial leases are being amended for future use for agricultural applicators including containment, storage, and reporting of chemicals on the field in accordance with the Department of Environmental Quality standards.
The grass runway is moving closer to a permanent solution for irrigation as the bid to install the system that has been recommended by the Airport Committee will hopefully be completed this fall.
Both open recruitments are performing well. The Airport Manager position will close 11/15/2020 and the Police Officer position will close 11/30/2020.
Nov 2nd- Chief Romero conducted a review and analysis of OPD’s Use of Force policy; to stay consistent with the goals and objectives of the Safe Policing for Safe Communities Policy (Presidential Executive Order No. 13929). All Oregon Law Enforcement agencies are being asked to review policies to be eligible for federal grant funding.
Nov 2nd- Chief Romero continues to work with city staff and OPD staff to finalize an RFP for dog kennel services. OPD continues to operate without a current kennel service agreement and is utilizing local veterinarian services for animal related calls.
Nov 2nd- Chief Romero met with the new Public Works Director to discuss joint traffic safety improvement strategies and critical infrastructure protection. They will continue the conversation.
Nov3rd- Chief Romero has commenced with a 2021-2025 OPD Strategic Plan. Chief Romero is working with community members, the OPD team, and city staff to develop a sound plan. Chief Romero hopes to deliver the plan to the city manager by Spring 2021.
Nov 5th-Chief Romero conducted an on-camera interview with Boise Channel 2 News regarding the passing of Oregon Ballot Measure 110. Chief provided a summarized overview of the legislation content and what potential impacts the new law may have on Ontario.
Nov-3rd OPD worked with Malheur County Probation and Parole to locate and arrest a wanted felon that has been evading arrest for some time. The individual was wanted on an outstanding Federal Warrant for weapons violations and is suspected of gang and drug activities in Ontario and the surrounding area. The suspect was located and arrested by OPD at the P&P office with the help of P&P staff. Great arrest and another serious felon removed from Ontario.
Nov 5th- OPD responded to a Domestic Violence related call in the NW section of the city. OPD arrested the suspect after he fled in a vehicle and collided with another motorist prior to OPD’s arrival.
Nov 5th-OPD responded to Walmart, regarding a male subject using his cell phone and videotaping up the skirts of female patrons. The subject was taken into custody for Invasion of personal privacy and disorderly conduct. The arrested subject is from New Plymouth, Idaho. OPD suspects there may be additional victims and intends to issue a Press Release in the near future.
Nov 2nd- OPD CE responded to a trash complaint at the Mall site on SW 4th Ave. CE contacted the property management and issued a notice to correct to the property management/owner(s). Corrective measures were taken almost immediately.
Nov 4th-OPD CE investigated another “Pitbull” dog attack that resulted in moderate injury to the dog bite victim. Dog owner(s) have not been identified or located. The case will remain open and the dog has been impounded by OPD CE for the safety of the community.
Nov 4th-OPD CE impounded the vehicle of a chronic parking violator who also routinely litters large amounts of trash onto the public right away in the NE section of town near the Motel 6. Vehicle owner was also cited for littering.
This week, CE officers issued 7 property abatement liens due to non-compliance by the property owners.
Fire & Rescue
10/28,30 Chief and the Building Officials did final inspections and follow ups at 44 SE 9th Avenue for a Hemp processor. 10/30, 11/3 Chief and Building officials did final inspections and follow ups at TVCC Vo-Tech center building.
10/27 Staff did the last week of smoke detector inspections and installations. 11/3 The staff did a hands-on review of vehicle extrication equipment.
10/24 MDA fill the boot fund raiser. The members collected from the generous community $14,750 for this worthy cause.
10/23 Numerous engines and staff responded to 497 Foothill Road for a shop fire started by a wood stove. Rescue 1 also responded to assist OPD at a crime scene.
10/24 The staff responded to Holiday Inn at 210 SE 10th Street for smoke and burning smell. They found light smoke and some mechanical issues with the elevator.
10/25 NW 36th Street Rescue 1 assisted numerous police agencies with opening a safe during a search warrant.
10/27 Rescue 1 and an engine responded to Mutual Aid Treasure Valley Paramedics with vehicle extrication for a roll over on I-84 MP 357.
10/28 1187 NW 11th Street The staff and numerous apparatus responded to a fully involved motor home and house with an attached garage fire. The fire also required mutual aid from four other departments. This fire was very difficult to fully extinguish due to construction and it continued to smolder and burn for many days.
10/29 Rescue 1 responded to a tree stump fire on SE 1stStreet.
10/30 The crew responded to a dumpster fire on SE 1st Street which is becoming a common theme. 10/31 R-1 responded to a tree fire that was started due to an unattended burn pile.
11/4 The staff responded to a structure fire at 2565 SW 4th Avenue they were able to contain the fire to a water heater and the walls around it with just smoke through the rest of the mobile home.
11/5 Crews responded to a fence fire that also spread to a garage on SW 7th Street that was started by transients burning tree limbs. They also responded to a vehicle fire on Hwy 201 at MP 25.
Street sweeping is on-going for the next few weeks.
Jacobs staff members are working with other members of the community to prep the location where the homeless tiny houses are going to be relocated to.
Crews are beginning the fall maintenance of storm water catch basins around the city.
River Pump #1 is repaired and waiting for installation by the contractor. Staff have begun winterization activities at the water plant. Crews will be cleaning Recovery Bed #3.
The bio-solids removal contractor has removed 750 dry tons of biosolids from Lagoon #1 since dredging began Oct. 26th. Treated plant effluent water is being discharged to the Snake River as of November 1st.
The Community Development building HVAC system now has an ozone disinfection system installed and operational.
Parks and Cemeteries
Winterizing of sprinkler systems is ongoing. Staff have started mulching activities at Beck and Lions Parks.
Tapadera Lift Station capacity needs to be determined so future development can be pursued in the area it serves.
Upgrades to the fiber communications systems at the airport are being planned.
The SRCI wastewater syphon that will eliminate the Lower Lift Station is being reviewed.
Lots of night meetings again this week. Airport Committee on Monday, Council Meeting on Tuesday, Regional Equity in Recovery Team on Wednesday, and Chief’s Advisory Committee on Thursday.
COVID-19 – Our county numbers have been improving, but as you can see, our national numbers are showing a resurgence of the virus and the fear is that, compounded with the flu, it is even more lethal.
The County is focused on increasing testing capacity so that they can keep our positive rate down.
Coronavirus Relief Funds – We are getting money spent.
North-South Trail – Two budgets ago we had money for planning the North-South trail in the budget, but we needed that money to complete the Treasure Valley Connector Trail. I submitted a letter of interest, a short application, for the 2021 Oregon Community Paths Grant Program. If we get approved to move on in the application, I can get Merchant McIntyre to help with the grant writing.
Tech Support – Peter finished the RFP for the tech support so that will go out to bid soon. To refresh your memory, that was budgeted to provide backup support for our in-house tech specialist.
Leadership Team - We had some good, but tough conversations about diversity and equity in our leadership team meeting this week. We don’t always agree, and it can be uncomfortable, but we need to have those discussions.
Energy Study – We got our first look at the energy savings study and potential savings. We will be going over that in the coming weeks and it will eventually come to the council for decision making.
Economic Development – Dan has been working on an exciting prospect. We also had a great PDAC with a potential new business.
Homelessness Shelter Committee – I have a meeting set up for next week with our faith based and business community to discuss how they can support the shelter operations. I’ve been working with Barb throughout the week on the site relocation plans.
Border Board Airport Grant – It is expected that the border board will meet on Monday to review the airport planning grant proposal. Keep your fingers crossed that we will receive the funding.
Construction on the taxi lane and hold apron is continuing in this nice weather. Dan showed the taxiway construction to a gentleman who is very interested in building hangars.
We are still waiting on replacement parts for the rotating beacon as it remains out of service.
Time is devoted each day to the construction phase of the Airport, working with engineers, electricians, and construction workers. Thursday was interesting as we looked for underground power lines for the FAA automated service observation system and the Boise weather station. We were successful.
We also held a PDAC meeting for the Experimental Aircraft Association construction as they are getting their building ready for TVCC’s flight school use.
Applications for the Airport Manager continue to come in. It looks like we have a very good pool.
This past week OPD recertified all four of OPD’s firearms instructors. OPD continues to focus on the development of personnel and tactical best practices.
Oct 27th-Chief Romero participated in an online Affordable Housing Seminar hosted by Northwest Housing Alternatives. Chief Romero assessed the impact the future population growth in Ontario may have on public safety services.
Oct 28th- Chief Romero was interviewed by the Malheur Enterprise (ME) to discuss crime statistics and trends in Ontario. Chief Romero shared some of his crime reduction strategies and anticipates an article.
Oct 28th- Chief Romero participated in an online Malheur County Community Mental health, Local Alcohol and Drug and development Disabilities Advisory Committee meeting. Strategies and updates were presented and discussed for responding to the mental health and drug addiction problems in the region.
Oct 29th- Chief Romero launched the Chief’s Advisory Council. The first session was attended by the (11) member council and some distinguished guest. The Chief shared that the group is diverse, professional and is focused on assisting him with a comprehensive solution-seeking process that will benefit the community and OPD well into the future.
OPD participated in a multi-agency narcotics enforcement initiative that resulted in an arrest of an Ontario area resident, seizure of a large amount of contraband, and a weapon. The case remains active and the Chief anticipates a joint Press Release will be shared with the public soon.
Oct 24th- OPD responded to a Domestic Violence call made by a minor. OPD contacted all parties involved and attempted to arrest the male suspect. The suspect fled on foot from officers but was captured after a brief foot pursuit and struggle.
Oct 27th-OPD responded to a traffic Hazard on SW 4th Ave near 12th Street. OPD located several Rail-Road ties in the roadway and removed the ties safely from the roadway.
Oct 30th- OPD participated in an outdoor “Trunk or Treat” event at the Four Rivers Cultural Center. The event was hosted by the Ontario Boys and Girls Club and utilized current COVID protocol and safety measures.
This week OPD code enforcement responded to a dog bite incident, numerous traffic complaints and ordinance violations.
Code enforcement officers continued to work with Chief Romero on a proposed dog kennel services RFP.
Code enforcement conducted follow up this week and was able to close 85 cases on Thursday 10/29. Code Enforcement still has a hefty follow up of over 90 cases.
Police was contacted last night regarding someone trespassing/living in a motorhome and stealing water from Beer Valley Brewing. Code Enforcement with the assistance of Patrol attempted contact today at the motorhome with no success. Code Enforcement sent out an abatement notice with the extensive violations at 932 SE 12th Avenue. Property owners will have 10 days to comply.
Code Enforcement conducted follow up on a property that previously was in disrepair and had multiple violations; location is now cleaned up and seeing progress. This shows the effectiveness of the Civil Penalty Process and current abatement process, to help make Ontario shine.
Thursday, 10/29, Code Enforcement towed 3 vehicles from the NW side of town that had previously been tagged with a (72) hour tow notice.
The following pictures are of a property that was abated by Code Enforcement, which led to redevelopment.
Street sweeping is on-going for the next few weeks. Jacobs will be coordinating with Ontario Sanitary Services to address fall lawn and leaf clean up needs as the transfer station is currently out of service. Crews spend time this week flushing end of line fire hydrants. More road repair work was completed on the Skyline Farm access road.
Jacobs is working with ACS to identify why there are repeated communication failures throughout the SCADA system. Jacobs staff is scheduled to prep the new location for the homeless shelter “Tiny Homes”.
River Pump #1 is still out of service, Priest Electric is performing repairs. A debris basket is being fabricated and installed on a temporary pump in case it is needed to support River Pump #2. Crews will be cleaning Recovery Bed #3.
The bio-solids removal contractor has begun dewatering biosolids from Lagoon #1. It’s a fascinating process. I took a drive to see what it looked like and it’s pretty amazing.
Because the biological balance in Lagoon #1 has been upset with the dewatering work, odors are becoming more noticeable. This condition can be expected to exist until the dewatering project is complete.
Staff collected monthly arsenic samples as requires by ODEQ.
Ozone air cleaners have been installed on all the City Hall HVAC systems. These ozone systems will provide a disinfecting effect for the air as it moves through the HVAC system and out into the habitable spaces.
The Community Development building is scheduled to be the next city owned building to the ozone system installed in the HVAC system.
Parks and Cemeteries
Winterizing of sprinkler systems is ongoing. Grass trimming at Evergreen Cemetery and Westside Cemetery is complete. The foundation for the columbarium at Evergreen Cemetery has been poured.
Staff have been working to remove the hanging plant baskets from the downtown light poles.
A pigeon exterminator has been contacted to present a solution for city buildings that are being challenged by the birds. It’s been a problem downtown too, so we will see if there is mutual application.
Jacobs is supporting the City with researching how herbicides are handled at the airport. Upgrades to the fiber communications systems at the airport are being planned.
Transportation System Plan – The technical advisory committee met to discuss the most recent update to the transportation system plan. We have many volunteer committee members that have gave their time very freely for this effort, and I really appreciate their time. You can add your input here.
COVID 19 – There will be testing events next week with no symptoms required.
Monday, October 12th COVID Testing Event in Nyssa
Wednesday, October 14th COVID Testing Event in Ontario
Planning – We held a PDAC for the property the multi-unit development is being built on that went very well. This is the same property which the council held the public comment for at the council meeting. We also had a follow up meeting with Jacobs to talk about the water and wastewater capacity at that location.
Grants – We met with our grant writing team in Washington DC. They feel they have enough information to begin discussions with the Economic Development Administration for funding to complete the SE 2nd Construction project from East Idaho to 16th. I spoke with several people about getting more letters of support.
PERS – The contribution levels came out today for the PERS. It’s not a great surprise because we had the estimates earlier this year. Tier 1 & 2 went from 32.82% to 35.65%. The OPSORP employees went from 22.60% to 26.32% and the Police and Fire Tier 1 & 2 went from 27.23% to 30.68%. This will be for the 21-22 fiscal year and the 22-23 fiscal year. That includes contributions to our side account.
Coronavirus Relief Funds – We have a lot of projects to get going on with the Coronavirus Relief Funds. We got underway with them today. I’ll be in contact with the senior center next week to see what we can do for them.
Monday began with a preconstruction meeting of all the partners regarding the continuous improvement project at the airport. A NOTAM was called for the construction as taxiway lights will be off during the time of construction.
The military jet that is on display at the airport was moved from the static display location to make room for construction. It was quite an ordeal moving an F-4 Phantom fighter jet.
Follow up sessions are being set with the fire marshal to review compliance reports made on each chemical applicator’s site on the field regarding safety and hazmat concerns.
Staff conducted the annual inspection of the Boys and Girls Club in Ontario. Chief virtually attended a PDAC on Wednesday for a 70-unit apartment, the Rural Board meeting on Thursday, and the OVFA Business meeting on Tuesday.
The Malheur County Burn ban will be lifted October 12.
This month staff will participate in the Ontario Smoke Detector Program. Citizens can call (541) 881-3216 to schedule appointments.
10/5 - Rescue-1 was paged to a fire alarm but was cancelled enroute. 10/6 - Rescue 1 responded to a “gas smell” on the 100 block SW 4th Avenue. After checking the area, a leaking propane tank was identified, the leak was stopped, and the scene was cleared.
Recruitments started for the positions of Police Officer (Entry/Lateral) and Airport Manager. These recruitments will run until 11/30/20 and 11/15/20 respectively.
Oct 5th- Chief Romero participated in the Malheur County local public safety coordinating council meeting. The council discussed a variety of regional crime concerns and methods for a collaborative response to the issues discussed. One key topic was a recent change in gun registration protocol. Local agencies will now assist with this process versus the Oregon State Police.
Oct 6th- Chief Romero authored staff reports and contracts for three contractors that will be assisting the City of Ontario with the nuisance abatement process. Two will serve as hearing officers and one will provide abatement services.
Oct 8th-Chief Romero attended an online demonstration for the I-Worq’s System being considered by the city for automation services of all the department’s forms and case management systems. Chief Romero feels the platform will serve the needs of the Ontario Police Department’s Code Enforcement Division.
October 9th-Chief Romero has made his final selection for an eleven (11) member Chief’s Advisory Council and will publicly announce his selection through the OPD Facebook on his October 2020 “Minute with the Chief” Commentary. The Chief reports that he received a diverse group of applicants and is excited to start working with this newly developed community governance team.
Oct 7th- This week OPD was able to attend a community policing event. OPD was joined by the Oregon State Police at the Brookdale Senior Living Center for a socially distanced drive thru “Coffee with a Cop” event. The event was hosted by Brookdale on this National Coffee with a Cop day. Great Community support expressed by the staff and residence of the Brookdale community.
Oct 7th- OPD shared in an outdoor “Pizza Party” event with the Ontario Boys and Girls Club. OPD provided pizza and candy to the kids and staff at the BGC to express their support for the staff, programs, and youth that attend the BGC. OPD looks to build strong bonds with our area youth to maintain ongoing and future mutual trust between the police and our community.
This week, OPD Code Enforcement worked on developing a temporary foster program for dogs, due to the current impasse between the city and local kennel service that the city had been doing business with. Kennel Services have been suspended due to COVID 19 and pending contract development.
CEO’s worked on 4 Nuisance abatement cases that will be forwarded for formal administrative hearings.
CEO monitored traffic conditions this week on SW 4th Avenue, via the OPD Speed Trailer.
Crews continue crack sealing activities. The handrail for the skate park restrooms is taking shape. Staff worked on improving the road to the Bench Reservoir.
The pilot test of the Titus Twister at the Malheur Lift Station has been discontinued due to visible fats, oils, and grease accumulating on the surface of Waste Treatment Lagoon.
The water treatment plant is running well, and the reservoirs are full. Staff continued cleaning drying beds. The water reservoir at SRCI had a pressure transducer fail and SRCI staff requested help from Jacobs to respond to the problem.
In preparation for the bio-solids removal project, Fruitland Electric was at Waste Treatment Thursday disconnecting electrical service to three of the four rows of floating aerators in Lagoon #1. This will allow for the rows of aerators to be moved to the east end of the lagoon, so they won’t interfere with the solid’s removal dredge.
Parks and Cemeteries
Crews are focused on mowing and trimming.
Staff participated in a preliminary PDAC for a 70-unit apartment complex. Staff also reviewed a request by Project Ruby about locating a production facility in Ontario as well as the Goodfellow and 5th Avenue improvements.
Each week, City Manager Adam Brown brings you up to date on the comings and goings of the City of Ontario in The Weekend Update.