Council Meeting – Our next City Council meeting is this Tuesday at 6:00. The public is invited to attend via Facebook Live or by phone.
Second Dog Park Completed: Our fencing contractor was out at Lions park installing the second dog park. I think this will be very popular. Room was left on the north side of the park for the future sidewalk.
Normal calls with the League of Oregon Cities, Local Emergency Planning Committee, and City Incident Command. People at all levels of the government are beginning to talk about opening back up.
Several of us had a follow up conversation to a local economic recovery program. We have put together a framework for that program and hope to discuss it more next week.
The Governor has set up the necessary conditions for reopening the state, so we need to focus on meeting those conditions. 1) Declining growth rate and surge capacity; 2) Sufficient personal protective equipment for medical and first responders; 3) Public Health Framework including tracing system and isolation abilities, robust testing, and a plan for quarantining of positive testing for all; and 4) the ability to implement the CDC guidelines on social distancing.
Fiber Connection – We should go live with the high-speed fiber at City Hall on Monday. Aerial construction for the airport is complete now. Fiber crews were on site today for testing at the building. We will work on getting connections to the existing buildings next.
Citizens Coalition of Ontario – Without the ability to do the community forums, the coalition is going to be doing some weekly series on Facebook. Eddie Thiel kicked it off with me this week and you can view our conversation on the coalition’s Facebook page.
Even though flight activity is down drastically at the airport there is still steady use as planes come and go.
A couple flight students volunteered their time this week for a cleanup project burning large piles of dead trees. It was very helpful having additional labor for the manual tasks needing to be done outdoors making social distancing guidelines easy to follow.
The drag has been taken back to the airport and will be used next week on the grounds.
The CIP project is out for bid soon and will be opened in May. We received notification that we will receive about $30 from the CARES act for the airport. A few thoughts come to mind of how to use that to improve operations. I’m not sure what restrictions there are, we will have to look at that. One thing we could do with it is use it to pay for the underground irrigation so that we do not have to manually move the wheel lines every day. The other option is to use it is an investment in hanger construction which would spur more activity. The Council will have to decide how to use that money.
Community & Economic Development
Staff is reviewing 10 building applications this week and has issued 3 building permits this past week. Review time has extended a little bit due to limited office time with customers.
The Planning Department is keeping extremely busy and has received 17 land use actions so far this year. Dan processed 9 land use action these past weeks and is working on the others as time allows. He has two public hearings scheduled for the Council Meeting on April 21st.
Dan is continuing to work on amending the Ontario Flood Plain Code (10A-47) to meet the new Oregon model code and federal regulations (FEMA). He had to put this on the back burner with everything else going on but should have it on the planning agenda for June.
Fire & Rescue
4/14 Staff attended the city ICS COVID-19 teleconference meeting. 4/16 City staff participated in the Malheur County ICS MAC COVID-19 teleconference meeting.
The staff trained on wildland urban interface on the computer distance learning model. Chief also participated in two teleconferences on disaster preparedness and crisis care guidance.
This week was Public Safety Answering Point or 911 Dispatchers appreciation week. The department thanked them with a healthy plate of fruit and posts on our Facebook page. Thank you for always having our backs.
This week the staff responded to a couple of false alarms and a controlled burn. 4/14 They also responded to numerous grass fires that had been started by the train along the tracks near Lincoln and Railroad Blvd. 4/17 The staff responded to a working structure fire with smoke coming out of the attic of a four-plex. The fire was contained to the attic area above one of the unit’s bathrooms.
Apr 13th- Chief Romero met with HR Director Hall to discuss OPD’s Wellness Program policy and to discuss a potential personnel file protocol for OPD.
Apr15th- Chief Romero and the code enforcement unit met with CM Brown to discuss potential policy and ordinance amendments for traffic, animal control, and property maintenance violations. Graffiti removal strategies were also discussed and presented.
Apr 16th- Chief Romero submitted application for potential procurement of an armored vehicle. The vehicle would be procured at no cost through a national surplus program. If procured the vehicle would provide a new protection platform for OPD and the community, during any critical event that poses a high risk to the safety of both officers and community members.
Chief Romero continues to submit weekly COVID-19 updates to the county and state as required by state executive orders.
April 16th- OPD assisted Idaho State Police and Oregon State police with a pursuit of an armed “suicidal” subject that had been pursued from Kuna, Idaho to Ontario, Oregon. After some extremely reckless driving by the suspect, his vehicle was disabled on highway 84 just north of town and the suspect was taken into custody by OSP & OPD after discarding his weapon in the brush. A very dangerous person taken out of Ontario by our law enforcement professionals.
Apr-17th- Chief Romero spent several hours on patrol which included stops at various businesses, traffic enforcement, and high visibility in some of the more active areas of town.
Code enforcement continues to experience a lower response activity to animal related cases and has increased activities in property abatement. No significant cases to report this week but progress is being made during the 6 days of code enforcement coverage.
We have changed schedules for all crews in response the COVID-19 response, as much work is being done remotely and other operations are being modified to limit exposure to those that must be in the field. Weekly checks on staff and operations related to the pandemic are in place.
The following took place:
The water treatment plant is running well after recent modifications to SCADA programing. Water inventories are at target levels. System demands are normal for this time of the year.
The following took place:
We issued a press release to explain the odor problems we are experiencing at the wastewater facility.
“During the past month, the City of Ontario’s wastewater treatment lagoon has experienced odor issues. The odors are the result of seasonal water temperature changes that bring decomposing biosolid gases to the lagoon surface which are then dispersed by wind. City staff are implementing all available mitigation measures to address this issue in the near term and the City has committed funds to remove the biosolids build up later this year. Removal of the biosolids build up should solve the problem going forward. The City appreciates the patience of the Community as we remedy this problem. If you have any questions, please email or call.”
We implemented some flow process changes to the lagoon system. We are recirculating water back through the influent lagoons in an effort to address odor issues. We have also developed a plan to institute other changes if this does not show any improvement in odor.
We met with one of Jacob’s odor mitigation experts to help generate a plan to address odor issues. Sampling equipment has been ordered and is on the way. This obviously is a work in progress. Ultimately the removal of solids is the final solution to this problem.
Equipment was ordered to begin solids mapping of influent lagoon; this should begin as early as next week dependent on other issues related to supply.
The following took place:
Parks and Cemeteries
Downtown flowerpots were watered, and trash receptacles were emptied throughout town. The Dog park fencing at Lions Park was completed. The area for the new playground structure at Lions park was excavated. We will begin construction of the new apparatus next week. Irrigation systems in both parks and cemeteries has begun. Spring cleanup at the cemeteries began this week and will continue.
The engineering staff is working on the Water Master Plan, Oregon Street project, NPDES work on pH adjustment system at wastewater, and the solids removal plans from WWTP.
S. Oregon project is being advertised now; bid opening April 23 at 3 pm. We need to think about the impact that will have on businesses on top of what they are already going through on South Oregon. We will be looking at ways that we may break up the project for the least disruption.
The mixing zone study was sent to DEQ for review.
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.