The City sent out a survey regarding smoking downtown. There is a public/patron survey that went out via Facebook. Then, there is one just for merchants that was emailed out.
The Council and I were invited to the first day of the Four Rivers Charter School on Thursday. Mayor Hill, and Councilmen Palomo, Capron, and Justus were able to attend with myself.
I met with the new Recreation District Executive Director Andrew Maeda this week and enjoyed talking with him about the new opportunities.
We had a conference call with the security camera vendor who won the bid. We are trying to skim down the cost to come in under budget. We should have a contract to award in September though. They gave us a great bid if we pay for cloud service upfront rather than monthly or annually. A five-year cloud service gets us a great rate and we are not paying for anything those five years and all cameras are under warranty. We were specifically looking for a cloud solution so that we can have access anywhere in the city.
We have been trying to find the source of the pungent smell that has penetrated the city’s air. We know it is not our lagoons. I drove around myself and checked out our lagoons. We will continue to investigate and see if we can do anything about the smell.
HR and Public Affairs
Service Line Warranty Program
Cliff and Peter met to discuss a Service Line Warranty Program through the National League of Cities. They were both impressed with the program and the positive effect the partnership could have on community members. This is an insurance program for costly waterline breaks that would fall under the homeowners’ responsibility. They plan to present this to the Public Works Committee and then City Council.
City Hall Emergency Plan
The first draft of the Emergency Plan was reviewed this week. This is a plan prepared by the Safety Committee which covers emergency procedures for City Hall. The plan includes emergency action plans for a variety of situations.
CGI Communications released their proofs for our community videos. Extra footage was collected this week in response to the proofs. They will now prepare a new set of proofs for our approval.
Staff reviewed 17 applications for building permits this week. We have issued 17 permits the past two weeks. Staff finalized 4 land use actions this week and is continuing to work on 9 other land use applications. We are now at 56 Land Use Actions for this year.
Fire and Rescue
The crews went to the airport and practiced pumping and fire streams.
This week was a maintenance week, the staff repaired hose and reloaded it; they exercised the valves on the engines and there was two days of required pump testing on all of the engines.
This week was Christmas in August. We received numerous surplus items from the State Fire Marshal that will be put into good use on different apparatus of ours.
The crews responded to a mutual aid call in Payette County for a structure fire in a shop and extension into the house. There were many departments on scene with heavy damage to both structures. The temperatures were high and made for difficult work. This was a physically taxing fire.
The staff responded to Idaho power transformers sparking and the loss of power. An RV had caught a support wire and pulled down some power lines and caused the transformers to short out and spark. The power outage was for many square miles of coverage and for a couple of hours until it could be restored by Idaho Power. The crews remained on scene until Idaho Power was on location and the scene was safe.
Fence repair at the south end of the airport is underway.
The joint Capital Improvement Planning session for the airport ends at the end of this month and so time has been spent this week looking at the needs of the airport. One of the major needs is to maintain the runway surface in a preventative program before the deterioration becomes irreversible.
The TVCC fixed wing flight program will be in full force by the end of September. Preparations are underway to accommodate the increase in traffic.
The National Transportation Safety Board has utilized the airports camera system in an effort to help in the investigation of the fatal plane crash. Time has been spent this week meeting with investigators.
Just over 320 gallons of chemicals for a late application were applied this week to the late season noxious weeds that were not treatable earlier in the year.
A storm water line at TVCC was cleaned. Soil from irrigation run off had plugged the line and we proactively cleared it.
Our internet provider experienced a failure related to their system that caused the automatic monitoring of wastewater lift stations to be taken off line. This resulted in manual checks by staff for 2 nights this week. Staff did a good job of proactively addressing the problem.
Flashing crosswalk lights were installed at the high school this week.
Hot taping cross walks and painting sidewalks continues.
We noted odor and taste issues in the water throughout the distribution system, chemical dosing rates were changed to oxidize additional organics in the raw water. While the problem was not instantly resolved it was much better by the end of the week and will continue to improve as water moves through the system. A news article was run in the local paper explaining the issue and resolution.
The power outage responded to by the fire department resulted in the water plant to be taken off line, generators restored power, but SCADA communication was impacted. The issue was addressed and rectified.
Parks and Cemetery
Vandalism was reported at Laxson and Lanterman Park. Sprinkler heads were broken and needed to be replaced.
We got a peek at some first re-designs of the bulb outs for South Oregon Street. We provided comments and they are back with the designer.
Kids are back in school, buses are rolling and things are cooling off. We are making a lot of progress on a lot of projects.
The newly painted fire hydrants look awesome! It was a really cool project that Councilor Rodriguez organized. We tried to hit the thoroughfare’s first. Thanks to Kinney and Keele True Value for supplying brushes and paint buckets. It was fun and everyone had a good time. We have another one scheduled for September 14. Councilors Capron and Palomo were able to make it too. I had a great time painting with the Fire Chief.
One thing we added to the parks master plan in 2018 was a water trail on the Malheur River. This is a very inexpensive recreation amenity that would attract a lot of people to the community. Basically, a river trail is a place where you can drop in a kayak, canoe, paddle board, or row boat and float down the river and then a place to get out. So you only need two spots and the river is the trail.
Our farm land west of the waste water plant has a very natural trail head. It’s a corner right off Malheur drive the farmer does not use. We are working with a community partner to use part of their property as the water trail end. This would give people approximately a three mile water trail which the County could extend and add a dock upstream in the future if they wished.
Employer Incentive Fund
We received notification today that the 25% PERS match will be made available on September 3rd for employers with an obligation greater than 200% of payroll. Our obligation is over 200%.
Staff are bringing back the Council’s strategic plan to formalize. The leadership team has been refining it into actionable items and it will now be ready for Council to revise and approve.
We researched and ordered planters this week. This includes more ground planters and also hanging planters. The benches have already been received. We plan to begin installation soon.
Public Works Committee
The committee discussed a traffic issue that our transportation engineer will be working on. Also, they recommended that the agreement with SRCI only be extended if we have tentative agreements about the progress we have made to date.
Housing Boom! (Relatively speaking)
The Business Loan Fund Committee reviewed applications for the Housing Incentive Program. They were expecting to review one, but a second one came before the meeting, which is very exciting. This is the most new development we have seen in at least 4 years. New housing is one of the keys for the city’s long-term resiliency.
The committee also discussed retaining a portion of the business loan fund for business grants and also whether the City should reduce the city incentive because of the Border Board Incentive. Ultimately that will be a Council decision.
Chief Romero attended a Lions Club luncheon for an Elder Abuse Prevention Seminar. Chief Romero also attended and was the guest presenter at the Kiwanis Club. The Chief conducted a presentation on “Volunteerism” and “Community Outreach” methods.
Chief Romero also attended a meeting at the Malheur County Health Department to discuss future, joint, public safety/health outreach for vulnerable populations within city of Ontario.
Chief Romero facilitated an OPD communications system analysis with an independent communications expert who provided the analysis at no cost. The analyst is a retired communications technician from Chief Romero’s last employer.
Fire & Rescue
The Chief did 4 different Knox box install responses and two inspections. This week’s training was on water rescue drills at Beck/Kiwanis Park and we did medical emergencies with TVP.
Staff responded to a fatal plane crash the passenger in the rear seat did survive with multiple fractures and other injuries. They also responded to a dumpster fire and a construction site fire.
It has been a sad week this week in the aftermath of losing one of our pilots and badly injuring another. There are many questions as the investigation continues in and around the airport.
The FAA grant application for over $93,000 was sent this week to the Seattle office. This money is for a new taxiway and hold apron design at the airport.
After meeting with Treasure Valley Community College it was learned that the aviation class is full and they are starting a waiting list for this fall.
Plans are underway to repair the airport security fence at the south end of the field that was damaged due to a non-fatal airplane crash last month.
On an upbeat note, we received word that the lifting and moving of the USAF F-4 Phantom jet for its re-positioning to the entryway of the airport will be paid in full by a local company.
Cross walk painting is off to a good start and will last the next few weeks
We engaged in power conservation during peak electrical demand times; we shut of large users of electricity for short periods to provide more power back to the grid. The program is managed by Idaho Power and we receive rebates for participation.
Aerator repairs were on-going all week; this includes taking our work barge out onto the lagoons and replacing or repairing worn parts. We are focusing on this activity while the weather is warm.
Parks and Cemetery
Beck Park had a power transformer fail and we were not able to water for a number of days until the electrical service was restored and pumping could continue. If you see some yellow grass at Beck Park this is the most likely reason.
Engineering staff will be looking at potential fixes to the damaged bridge at Beck Kiwanis Park.
We executed an Intergovernmental agreement with the State today. They will start programming their system to calculate and accept our payment. We are going to collect the revenue ourselves until January 1, 2020. We have a form ready for a payment voucher. We can reconcile our numbers with the state quarterly reports. Burnt River Farms, by Love’s Truck Stop, opened this week.
I finished writing the bid document for the tennis courts. It’s under review and I hope to be able to let it out Monday.
Wednesday was the deadline for getting amendments to the trail grant. After the technical review by staff, they allow us to make some changes for the committee’s review. We were able to upload the recorded deeds from the college and beef up some other sections. It sounds like I’ll make the cut for getting to present in person in the fall. The coordinator said she would be in contact in September to set up a presentation time.
Emergency Management Meeting
Chief Romero, Chief Leighton and I attended the County Emergency Management Meeting. I have to say that Lt. Harriman from the Sheriff’s Office has brought the group a long way. Having Chief Leighton and Romero will be a great asset as we continue our community preparedness.
OLCC Listening Tour
The OLCC hosted two listening sessions in Ontario. One intended for the marijuana industry and the second intended for government leaders. We had staff attend both. Councilor Rodriguez made it to the government session. It was informative.
Live After Five
I made it to Live After Five this week. It was good to visit with community members.
The City Council voted to move Council Work Sessions from noon to 6 PM starting in September. The session will remain on the first Thursday of each month. We have posted notification of the time change to the work session on our website and pushed it out through Facebook.
Dan hosted several PDAC’s this week. He’s working on a few more annexations, which is great news! He received our 8th Housing Incentive Fund application this week. It’s working!
Human Resources/Public Information
Peter launched a pilot Facebook Workplace team. This is a platform created to serve as a company’s intranet. In other words, it’s just for information sharing among employees. Most large companies have an intranet. This is a low/no- cost option for a small business like ours.
Website – After a month we are averaging 156 unique visitors a day during the week and 93 a day on weekends. Utility billing and jobs are the most frequented pages visited.
Fire & Rescue
The crew went through patient packaging and different ways to remove a patient from a scene. Some of the crew also did hose pulls. Chief Leighton was a judge at the fair on a couple of different events. The crew and chief prepared station 2 and assisted with the set up for the wrestling clinic. Some of the staff attended the MDA camp firefighter day. They drove to McCall and spent the day playing games and doing projects and activities with the campers. It was a very rewarding experience to see the fruits of the fill-the-boot campaign.
The staff responded to a few burning complaints and illegal burns. They responded to a couple of grass fires along I-84, one was in our area and the other was a mutual aid to Payette County. The staff also responded again to a fire in the area under the bridge on E. Idaho. Rescue-1 also responded a few times to false alarms at Heinz and ODOT’s office building.
Chief Romero attended the “Athlete Mentorship Program” development meeting at TVCC of which he is a co-coordinator and instructor for this new community outreach program serving Ontario youth.
OPD attended the Sexual Abuse work group meeting.
Lt. Cooper and Chief Romero conducted an interview with Malheur Enterprise reporter Joe Siess on “Preparing for Active Shooter events.”
Chief Romero met with Lifeways & the Argus Observer to discuss the Chief’s strategic approach to expanding juvenile outreach program, homeless outreach, and response program for City of Ontario and surrounding communities.
The Department is working with the Fire Department to share the drone recently acquired by the City Fire Department. There is no reason to have two when it is very unlikely that it will be deployed at the same time by both departments.
Chief continued his second “Minute with the Chief” on Facebook.
Hangar walk through inspections began to ensure the federal aviation administration‘s rules and regulations are being met at the airport.
Six fixed wing firefighting airplanes and two helicopters flew in and out of Ontario‘s airport in an effort to combat wildfires which made for a busy airport.
Hot taping cross walks started and will continue the next few weeks. Concrete curbs were installed at multiple locations throughout the community. We are also painting yellow curbs throughout town, on primary and secondary routes throughout town.
We engaged in power conservation during peak electrical demand times, we shut off large users of electricity for short periods to provide more power back to the grid. The program is managed by Idaho Power and we get rebates for participation.
Aerator repairs are ongoing all week, this includes taking our work barge out onto the lagoons and replacing or repairing warn parts, we plan on focusing on this activity while the weather is warm.
Parks and Cemetery
Reseeding of grass in splash pad construction area began; this will be a work in progress to get the grass restored to pre-construction levels.
Beck Park had a power transformer fail and we were not able to water for several days until the electrical service was restored and pumping could continue. If you see some yellow grass at Beck Park this is the most likely reason.
Parking lots in the downtown area were weeded.
We have another busy week ahead of us. Work session is on Thursday. OLCC is hosting some listening events regarding marijuana at 6 pm on Tuesday at the Cultural Center and specifically for local governments at 9 am at the Cultural Center on Wednesday.
Eastern Oregon University
At the request of Bill Johnson, a member of the Board of Directors for EOU, I addressed the entire Board of Directors for Eastern Oregon University and all of the college deans, which was around 30 people. To prepare for that I met with some of our community leaders to have a broad discussion about our community needs and how EOU might collaborate and serve our community. I think the presentation went well. What an amazing opportunity to have the entire Directors and Leadership Team of the University see our community first hand!
I attended a facility planning meeting for Four Rivers Charter School on Thursday. They hosted some sessions open to the public later in the day.
Beck Park Bridge
We believe the bridge was vandalized. This was a gift from our sister city in Japan, Osaka Sayama. The rails were torn from the bridge were found in the pond or it is possible that they could have broken from someone leaning. A police report has been filed. We are looking at options and cost to replace it. It will come back to the City Council at some point for a decision.
Two women from Ontario met with me this week concerned about traffic safety on NW 4th Ave between 9th and Verde. Their cars have been hit around a dozen times over the last decade, mostly from drunk drivers early in the morning. Chief Romero was able to join me for the discussion. We will work as a team with the city engineer to figure out how to prevent those accidents and bring down the speed on that segment of the road.
I continued work on the tennis court bid document. I hope to let that out next week.
A lot of our employees volunteered at various places at the fair. The Police and Fire Chiefs, Peter, and I volunteered at the emergency management booth and many of us including Tori also volunteered at Revitalize Ontario’s Tater Tot Festival Booth. I heard a lot of excitement around the Tater Tot Festival.
We went live for online billing / civic pay on Thursday. The great part about the new system is that customers can look at usage and billing history.
Chief Romero, Officer Scott Phelps, and I attended the Malheur County Housing/ Homeless Meeting at the Clarion Inn to participate in a group think session for developing a regional strategic plan for the homeless and vulnerable populations.
OPD staff members continue to provide directed patrol efforts to the downtown area in response to past and recent complaints regarding drug addicts and homeless individuals loitering in and around the area.
I ran across a little guy about 6 years old at the fair who was looking for "Chief Steve". He told me Chief Steve was his new buddy. How awesome is that?
Fire and Rescue
The Rural board met and had a guest presentation from Shawna Peterson from the Oregon Border Board.
Our drill night for this week was spent at the Malheur County Fair doing public education. The staff was there all afternoon and night and taught a couple hundred children about numerous points of fire safety.
The department set up the hoses and water supply and had the ladder truck at the mud volleyball tournament. The event was a fund raiser for Project Dove and raised close to $10,000.
This week we have mostly responded to illegal burning complaints and the normal medical calls.
Hot taping cross walks started and will continue for the next few weeks.
Staff members focused on multiple water connection repairs and meter replacement.
Aerator repairs were on-going all week; this includes taking our work barge out onto the lagoons and replacing or repairing warn parts, we plan on focusing on this activity while the weather is warm.
SRCI – We spent a lot of time working on SRCI this week. We had a conference call with me, the city engineer, city attorney and some of the rate specialists from JACOBS. We are making very good progress. Our next meeting with the state is next week.