Budget Committee – I really appreciated the amount of discussion and the willingness to engage in discussion during the budget committee. It’s a good function of teamwork when the team is willing to have healthy disagreements. At the end of the day, I am going to follow Council’s direction. They provide the direction for the city. The budget committee passed a budget to the city council, which is scheduled to be heard and approved in April.
Groundbreaking – We had a great groundbreaking for the Treasure Valley Connector Trail. Good attendance and a great step in a new direction!
COVID-19 – Senior staff spent many hours establishing new protocols for cleaning, service delivery, and protecting customers and employees. We are making all meetings possible by conference call. We are encouraging everyone to utilize our online bill pay, mail pay, or drop box payments. The fewer interactions we can have the more we can slow the spread of the COVID-19 virus. We are following the lead of our County Health Department and Emergency Management and everyone should be using the federal website for all the most current information on COVID-19 at www.coronavirus.gov.
9-1-1 User Board Meeting – The Board met to give the projections for the coming fiscal year.
TSP – We had a catch-up meeting on the Transportation System Plan. Jacobs is putting together the technical advisory group and the stakeholder group.
Ameresco – Our Energy Savings Performance Contracting Company did another site visit. They are excited at the opportunities they see to save money for the city.
Arsenic Call – We had a conference call with a company that claims to have a new technology for removing arsenic. We are going to get some more information. We will pursue it from there.
Joint SEACT NEACT Meeting – Dan Cummings and I attended a joint meeting of the SEACT and NEACT in John Day on Tuesday. We reviewed the Statewide Transportation Improvement Plan (STIP) for our region.
Housing Projects – The deadline for the affordable housing programs is coming up fast and there are a lot of applications going in from Ontario. We spent time working with developers on their projects this week.
Community Development has been very busy with land actions. Dan held 3 back to back PDACs on Wednesday.
Mar 10th and 12th-Chief Romero and Assistant U.S. Attorney Marco Boccato conducted a leadership seminar for middle school and high school aged youth at the Ontario Boys and Girls Club and OHS. Interaction with the local youth was positive and inspirational for all that attended and taught.
Mar 11th-Chief Romero attended the 911 user meeting. Discussed were issues with a damaged server located at the Malheur County 911 center that has led to an inability to obtain historical information for locations or an ability to quickly track what address a call is coming from. The County Sheriff Office is taking corrective measures to minimize the time these conditions exist.
Mar 11th-Chief Romero met with representatives from Three Rivers Crime Stoppers who solicited Chief Romero’s assistance with the re-launching of their crime prevention initiative. The Chief has agreed to serve as an informal consultant for the program. Information will be pushed out by OPD.
March 11th-Chief Romero submitted a $100K grant request to the USDOJ COPS Office for a crime prevention / reduction initiative that he has co-developed with key community partners. If funded, the program will be known as “Shield of Dreams” which includes youth outreach, applied learning workshops for police officers, and community partners alike.
This past weekend OPD’s reporting system experienced a microwave failure, which impacted OPD reporting capabilities for a ½ day. Issue triggered a response from our IT supervisor in order to get issues corrected.
March 8th-OPD staff solved a theft case of a very expensive saddle that was subsequently located, and the suspect is facing prosecution.
This week CEO’s focus was on derelict structures and abandoned vehicles. Numerous violations were identified citywide with fines being issued. CEO’s marked several trailers that are parked on public roadways and will take enforcement action if violations are not corrected.
Weekly maintenance checks on lift stations and sewer cleaning. A series of storm water lines at TVCC are being jet rodded to clear the silt from the summer irrigation season. This a continuation from previous weeks. We have approximately 50% of the lines cleared and will be working on this task as time allows through the coming month.
The tree project continues on East Idaho Avenue. Weed barrier cloth has been installed, irrigations lines laid and tested, and a rock layer added. Tree wells were formed and poured. All tree wells have been excavated and are ready for planting later this month.
Street sweeping on primary and secondary routes was started. Graffiti was removed on the near the underpass on East Idaho Avenue. It has been just a week since we completed this task. Photos were taken and will be shared with the Police department for potential action.
Staff continued examination of sidewalks in the downtown core area to determine potential problems with the downtown project. Ground penetrating radar was used to determine trouble spots
Groundbreaking for the new TVCC trail was a great kick off for a great project.
Water inventories are at target level. Normal system demands for this time of the year. River levels are stable and river water quality is very good for this time of the year.
Repair work continues for one of our pumping systems at the water plant. The pump base was completely rebuilt. The pump will be reinstalled shortly.
We have noted an issue with pumping raw water from the river, we began trouble shooting to identify the issue, this continues and is a work in progress
System is operating well. One of the chlorine contact chambers was taken off line and the redundant one put on line. The off-line chamber was cleaned and ready to be placed into service. Weekly inspections of the equipment and buildings including maintenance and trouble shooting. NPDES permit sampling continues as per DEQ requirements. Tier I samples are be collected as well as required copper samples.
Parks and Cemetery
Normal winter operations associated with Parks and Cemetery upkeep and maintenance. Newly refurbished picnic tables are being installed throughout the park system. Zero funerals this week at Evergreen Cemetery.
A new carpet square was installed in the city council chambers after one area was badly stain by some unknown spilled substance. A real advantage to the new carpet system we installed 2 years ago.
Council Meeting Thursday Night – March Work Session is on Thursday, March 5. We will have the downtown attraction study and the first step of the wayfinding study presented.
Budget – We met our deadline of getting it out two weeks prior to budget committee. Peter and Kari did an awesome job with the budget and then Tori helped us with some proofing on Wednesday and Thursday. The public can access the budget using this link.
Coronavirus (COVID-19) – I participated in a briefing by the Oregon Department of Emergency Management and Oregon Health Department. They have an incident commend set up at the state level and it operated very smoothly.
Sister City Trip Cancelled – We were all disappointed to hear about the cancellation of the sister city trip this year. We all look forward to and enjoy their youthful optimism and shining eyes. We very much understand the reason for cancelling the trip though.
Airport Committee – We met on Monday night. It was the first committee held in the council chambers. The committee was not happy with the limited options the FAA is giving us on the location of the BLM facility, but they understand why and said we need to go with the money, which means staying with the plan on the southeast corner.
Chamber Board Meeting – The Chamber Board meeting took place on Tuesday morning. Nothing to note.
Downtown Construction Project Forum – We held two forums on the downtown construction project. We had decent attendance at both. We probably had about 10 businesses present in total. We are going to do a voiceover of the presentation and push it out on Facebook for those who were not able to participate. We are collecting emails from people downtown who want to stay in the loop on the construction project. We will have a communications plan so that they know what is going on each week. It was a good opportunity to talk about all of the other good things that are going on in the community and there was genuine excitement amongst those attending.
Transitional Shelter – Two more units arrived this week. I believe they have been working on intake this week so it may open next week.
Prison Advisory Committee – The PAC met on Wednesday and the staff at Snake River Correctional Institute gave an excellent presentation on the Oregon’s correction system reforms, “The Oregon Way”. I wrapped up my year as chair, which may sound like a big deal, but it is not. They do all the hard work for the chair; you just have to run the meeting.
Budget – We made our target date for getting the budget out. We had a second roll out after some proofing, so use our second copy and you will find it a little cleaner.
Treasure Valley Connector Trail - Our Treasure Valley Connector Trail contractor has been given the notice to proceed. The construction can begin March 16. Staking will probably take place next week.
Tater Tots Trail – We had a conference call with Heinz Kraft today and we were able to resolve some of the issues in the letter of intent. We had participants from Ontario, Boise, and Chicago. It sounded like everybody was satisfied. They are going to make some corrections and get a letter of intent signed so we can go forward with the land use action.
Housing Project – I met with Euvalcree, Warrington Construction, and Agile Homes to discuss the affordable housing project we are working on. As a side note, the canal that was discussed at last week’s planning commission may have a resolution.
Thank you – We received a hand-written note from representative Mark Owens acknowledging receipt of our position against the cap and trade bill.
There was a change in venue for the Airport Committee meeting Monday night. They are now meeting at the City Hall council chamber to utilize the available technology and relieve the dependency on the FBO building in the future.
Most of the week was spent cleaning up the grounds with the help of SRCI workers for two of those days. The help from Jacobs for the use of their weed burner was greatly appreciated. Sweeping, spraying and general upkeep are next on the list.
Staff is very busy with general office work and handled approximal 60 phone calls and client contact this past week. They are starting to get many calls about people wanting to open dispensaries again. Spring has sprung.
Staff is reviewing 11 building applications this week and has issued 5 building permits this past week.
Staff held one PDAC meeting for commercial development.
The Planning department is keeping extremely busy finishing up the planning action from last year and have already received 11 land use action so far this year.
Flood Plain Administration
Dan continues to work on amending Ontario Flood Plain Code (10A-47) to meet the new Oregon Model Code and federal regulations (FEMA) and will be bring the changes to the planning commission and Council soon.
Staff continues work on a new Project called Project VET as well as working with the solar lease on the Stelling property that the Council previously approved.
Dan met with a new citizen to Ontario and working on establishing a new business in town.
Fire & Rescue
Some of the staff taught and participated in the Snake River Valley first 2020 essentials weekend. The staff did search and Mayday drills and dealing with domestic disputes and drug labs during reported fire responses. These were all done at the donated house we have on NW 11th Street. Some of the staff worked on water supply from a fire hydrant.
Veronica and Peter attended Leadership Ontario and this month the focus was on business and education. The Fire staff and associate members are working diligently preparing for the Firefighter Benefit dinner and dance, next Saturday March 7th at Four Rivers Cultural Center at 6:00 PM.
Chief Romero conducted an in-person interview with the Malheur Enterprise. A topic of conversation was perspective and plans for preventing gang and violent criminal activity in Ontario, as well as its anticipated effects throughout the county. The chief emphasized that Ontario has experienced a positive community upswing in the last year and is committed to working with All city leadership and community stakeholders to ensure Ontario remains a safe city.
Chief Romero met with representatives of the Ontario Small Business Development Centers. Chief Romero was asked and agreed to do a “Business Safety” presentation for the SBDC. Chief Romero will use this opportunity to launch a “Business Watch” initiative in Ontario. Chief Romero will present a Business Watch model, which he co-developed and implemented at his former city.
Chief Romero met with a business owner regarding the recurring onion slurry complaints on 2nd Street. They developed a strategy to rectify the slurry issues. Chief Romero was satisfied with the agreement and made it clear that enforcement and sanctions are the only other option.
Chief Romero attended a “Safety Awareness Day” planning meeting at Aiken Elementary with the school administration, Ontario Fire, and Kiwanis Service Club. OPD will be participating in a youth safety day at the school on May 1st, 2020.
Chief Romero hosted a Veteran’s breakfast event for the members of the Ontario American Legion Hall. Chief Romero cooked for and served approximately 25 Veteran’s to express his appreciation for those that served in our U.S. Military.
This week, OPD personnel remained proactive with enforcement efforts. Two incidents of interest to share:
#1) OPD officers made an arrest at the Pilot Gas Station of a felony warrant suspect that had previously been trespassed from the location. All the suspects associates were also trespassed from the location upon request of the business management.
#2) OPD responded to the Wells Fargo Bank regarding a “Man with a Gun.” OPD learned that the man with the gun had intervened in what he felt was an assault of an elderly man by a possible “gang member type.” OPD’s rapid response allowed for good witness statements. Assault suspect successfully fled, but citizen with concealed weapons permit prevented the crime from escalating and filed a police report for being threatened with a knife.
Chief Romero and OPD night shift conducted directed patrol efforts in the downtown area in order to address vagrancy and narcotics activities. Chief Romero suited up and was able to get some field time in.
Feb 24th- CEO’s conducted proactive education and enforcement at Beck Kiwanis Park for dogs off leash violations. CEO’s successfully educated and warned numerous citizens regarding dog leash violations. CEO’s had one subject refuse contact and refuse to identify himself to CEO’s.
Feb 26th-CEO Brockett submitted affidavit to Justice Court to obtain a vicious dog impound order, for a chronic vicious Pitbull dog that has 3 documented attacks. Owners have been previously cited and non-compliant with voluntary dog surrender. Court decision pending.
CEO Brockett developed a dog nuisance education PowerPoint presentation, that OPD will be using to educate the public on dog owner responsibility and obligations. Chief Romero hopes to have CEO Brockett present at a future council meeting and through the Facebook Live platform.
As of the start of this week, CEO’s have handled a total of 218 cases, with dogs at large leading the way and junk vehicle enforcement following closely behind. Busy unit with a great focus on improving the quality of life throughout the Ontario community.
The new CEO trainee (Rick Reyna) is coming along very well and has been proven to be a great addition to OPD’s CEO unit. CEO Reyna is expected to complete training by late March 2020.
The tree project continues East Idaho. Weed barrier cloth has been installed, irrigation lines laid and tested, and a rock layer added. Trees have been delivered and are slated for planting early this spring. Next steps include hydro excavating tree wells and then planting the trees.
All dirt roads within the City limits were graded and leveled. This does not include alley ways.
Crews responded to a plugged sewer line flooding a local homeowner’s basement. The cause appears to be a plugged city sewer line. The line was flushed and cleared.
We experienced a pump failure at one of our lift stations, the back-up pump was installed. The cause of failure was a broken impellor. The systems is back on and operating normally.
Well 15 was taken offline. The well will be videoed, it may have to be taken offline and rehabbed. This well provided 2.5 million gallons a day when well systems are being used so it is imperative this be addressed and repaired as soon as practical.
Repair work continues for one of our pumping systems at the water plant. The pump base was completely rebuilt. The pump will be reinstalled shortly.
The wastewater system is operating well. Weekly inspections of the equipment and buildings including maintenance and trouble shooting. NPDES permit sampling continues as per DEQ requirements. Tier I samples are be collected as well as required copper samples.
A debris pile of brush and trash was cleared from an area near the treatment plant.
Parks and Cemetery
Prison crews helped with weed burning and trash removal at the airport in anticipation of weed spraying next month.
Newly refurbished picnic tables are being installed throughout the park system.
A new security fence was installed at old city shop in conjunction with the new lights added last week.
The hot water tank at city hall was replaced with a new unit. Elevator checks at City Hall were completed by our certified elevator inspector. The elevator was certified for the coming year.
Work continues on the Water Master Plan and preparation for budget meetings.
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.