RFP’s and Bids
I was able to get two RFP’s out this week. One is for the Wayfinding system. I have fielded a lot of calls from designers since it went out. The second is the downtown attraction study. Also we continue to work on finding a contractor for our tennis court resurfacing.
Marijuana Ad Hoc Committee
The committee met on Wednesday night and voted to have the employee fee eliminated. We will bring that to the City Council Work Session on October 3. This would be an amendment to the ordinance. It would not require going through the state land use procedures.
Housing Incentive Program
We received our 8th application for the housing incentive program for the year.
Officer Danielle Llamas has been selected to receive the "LIFE SAVING AWARD" from the Oregon Police Officers Association for an incident that she mitigated on July 28, 2019, in which she was instrumental in communicating with and preventing the intended suicide of an individual who was determined to give up hope on life. While there were other OPD personnel that also assisted at the scene, Officer Llamas' peers and supervisor felt that her actions set themselves apart from all others and was deserving of formal nomination for this award.
CDBG Home Improvement Program
Peter and I were able to visit some of the renovation homes that the CDBG grant is funding. The beneficiaries were very grateful for the city’s backing of the grant.
Fire & Rescue
Meetings: 9/18 A presentation was made about a Life Safety inspection process that is becoming used by many cities to improve the documentation of safety inspections. 9/19 Snake River Fire Chiefs meeting was hosted in Ontario this month, it had great attendance of chiefs and fire marshals from both Idaho and Oregon.
Training: 9/16, 17 Chief was fortunate enough to attend an Occupational Safety conference for two days, on safety committees, workers health, hemp and marijuana processing, and cardiac results of firefighting. 9/17 The staff trained on rope operations. 9/18 The staff and TVP did post case reviews of different incidents.
Events: 9/14 Some of the staff and associate members painted fire hydrants around the town. The department paid for all of the brushes and paint buckets for this community event. There were some grandparents and two young future firefighters that really enjoyed touring the station. 9/18 Adam and Chief as past alumni attended the opening class for the Ontario Networking and Leadership class.
Incidents: 9/13 The crew responded to a carbon monoxide detector activation, it was the result of a dead battery. 9/16 524 The crew responded to a structure fire that ended up being a motor home fire. 9/18 The crew was busy this day and extra staff had to be called in for coverage, they responded to a large extrication with fatalities on Hwy. 20/26 west of Harper. There was also an agency assist trying to locate a suicidal person, on SE. 5th Avenue and to a possible fire with smoke at Taco Bell at E. Idaho.
The recruitment window for the position of Code Enforcement Officer was opened yesterday and will close on October 4.
Weekly Maintenance checks on lift stations and sewer cleaning were performed.
A pump at one of our lift stations failed, the pump was pulled, and its replacement put in its place. The failed pump was taken to a vendor for rebuild; once completed it will be placed in backup inventory. This is standard operations for critical equipment.
Housekeeping and cleanup of the Public Works shops and yard took place this week.
Crack sealing roads throughout town although rainy weather in the later part of the week impeded this effort.
Staff addressed multiple water leaks throughout the city; these leaks were primarily water service lines that had degraded over time.
The water inventory amounts are at target levels.
The water odor and taste issue have been mitigated, chemical additions to address algae bloom issues in the river have been reduced to pre odor and taste levels.
A dive team is here examining our water tanks. They will inspect all our reservoirs including some tankage at our water treatment plant. They are also scheduled to dive our raw water inlet in the Snake River for assessment purposes. Based on their evaluation we will make recommendations for any future repairs.
Painting at the water plant continues with focus on interior spaces. Staff members have done a great job.
Wastewater plant is operating well. Weekly inspections of equipment and buildings took place.
A leaking chlorine feed line was discovered and repaired. DEQ was notified of the amount of that was spilled; it was below thresholds for mitigation. The line has been in use for over 23 years and began to leak underground.
Staff are working on a ph adjustment plan, this is a requirement of the new NPDES permit and is due Octo 1, 2019. This is merely a plan for DEQ review.
Parks and Cemetery
One burial took place this week.
Lawn mowing at all city parks, trash removal as needed and general housekeeping.
Beck Park saw heavy use this week with multiple parties using the facilities including the annual Kiwanis fund raiser.
We are very excited to receive notification that we were awarded the $20,000 wayfinding grant from Travel Oregon. This will really help re-brand our community. We will move forward with a request for proposal.
The vendor did a site visit walk through on Thursday and we reviewed the plan for City Hall. We expect to have that bid ready to award on October 3rd.
Marijuana Ad Hoc Committee
The Committee will meet on Wednesday night (9/18) at 7 pm.
The chief made some revisions to the Code Enforcement Officer job description and we are moving forward to fill it. The chief is leaning to a minimum of 6 day coverage with offset hours so they can cover more of the day.
Malheur Housing United Taskforce
A small group of us met together early this week to address the homeless issue as a steering committee. Finding housing solutions is a goal in the City Council strategic plan.
I attended the border board meeting on Monday. The County has approved participation in the program as well as the Rural Fire District and the Malheur ESD. The County and ESD which are in our taxing area are a total of $2.89 per thousand. The Border Board will be at Tuesday’s City Council Meeting to answer any questions and provide any updates on their housing incentive program.
Peter and I attended the Revitalize Ontario meeting. Plans are moving forward for many projects that Revitalize is working on including utility box wrap art and an archway for the entrance into downtown Ontario.
We spent a great deal of time preparing the fiber bid to the airport. We hope to bring that to council for approval on October 3.
We had a great turnout for our 9/11 Ceremony. Chief Romero, Chief Leighton and the Mayor all gave very heartfelt comments.
Tennis Court Bids
We did not receive any bids on the tennis courts so we are talking with the vendors to see if we can work out something directly.
Important Site Visit
I joined local business owners on an economic development recruitment trip through Ontario. TVCC also participated in the video.
We had a link problem with Citizen Serve but it is back up and running. I will be using Citizen Serve to track any issues brought forward by Council. The public also has the ability to see how the code enforcement issues they submit are progressing using the portal.
Community & Economic Development
Dan was able to resolve some of the flood plain legacy issues that FEMA noted after an audit. This is incredibly important for the City because it helped us avoid potential fines. He is working through a few more issues.
Three Planning Design Advisory Committee meetings were held last week.
Fire and Rescue
The Chief met with the OHS football coach for some help at the home games. Some of the staff met to review the city emergency handbook and evacuation plans.
9/8 The crew responded to a mutual aid fire in Payette for a hay stack fire. 9/10 The crew responded to a smoke in a house. They found that the furnace motor had burned up. 9/12 Staff responded to a fatal vehicle accident on HWY 201 and NW 4th Ave.
On Saturday, the burn ban for Malheur County was lifted. Burn permits are available through Ontario Fire & Rescue.
Chief Romero attended a Steering Committee meeting at TVCC and continues to co-develop the TVCC Athlete Mentor Program (AMP) that aims to outreach “At-Risk” youths in Ontario. Grant funding for this program is pending. Program will move forward regardless of grant funding outcome.
Chief Romero accommodated a citizen request to meet and discuss a strategy and plan to assist the homeless. The requesting Citizen is currently homeless and a single parent of two small children. OPD provided temporary lodging assistance to the citizen and the children via the Salvation Army-OPD Assistance Program.
Chief Romero and OPD staff attended the “Hands Around the Park” event in support of our local outreach services. Chief Romero and Malheur County Undersheriff Travis Johnson cooked a couple hundred hotdogs for the community and event staff.
The chief gave a few PD tours. One was a local community member interested in pursuing an OPD law enforcement career. The Chief feels that early recruitment and mentoring improves the applicant pool for future OPD vacancies.
Chief Romero spoke with Pastor Tom Greco from the Ontario Community Church to further discuss Chief Romero’s efforts to develop a multi-denomination faith-based community resource team that could work alongside OPD to respond to a variety of community needs.
Hot Taping of crosswalks continues throughout town at multiple locations.
A new crack seal machine was delivered and training provided on this new unit, this will greatly improve our efficiencies and eliminate down time associated with equipment failure.
We have noticed a decrease in algae in the Snake River; as such our waters taste and odor issues have greatly diminished.
Special sampling was completed and sent off for analysis as part of our water quality permit.
A chlorine contact chamber was taken off line and cleaned.
Parks and Cemetery
A structural engineer evaluated the bridge at Beck Park we will wait for his report and then make plans related to repair or replacement accordingly.
I collected the petitions for the Treasure Valley Connector Trail that I placed at Oregon Health Market and Jolts and Juice a few weeks ago so that I could scan and send them to the state. They requested additional community support and gave me until today to get the additional items. We had about 100 people sign the petitions. A big shout out to Oregon Natural Market and Jolts and Juice for helping me collect signatures!
Our staff have been very resourceful in applying for grants for some of their trainings. Two of our employees received grants. This stretches our training budgets. Great job to staff for saving money.
We received many complements about the benches downtown. We have to relocate one which was too close to the street. We worked with the business owners to find a solution.
The planters for downtown arrived this week. We hope to get a winter plant in this year and then we will plant the annuals in the spring. The benches and the planters came as a result of the City Council’s strategic plan.
Fiber Connection at the Airport
This was a budget and strategic plan initiative to take fiber to the airport. We received three cost proposals from Sparklight for the fiber at the airport. I’ll present the analysis at the next City Council meeting.
We received a petition signed by 70 or so residents to add a crosswalk on Alameda around 8th Avenue. It seems like it would be simple, but we would have to do ADA ramps on both sides. The cost would be about $7,000. I know the Council, as well as staff, take these petitions very seriously. We will continue to explore.
Chief Leighton, Lieutenant Cooper, John Forsyth, and Peter met and finished the Ontario Emergency Plan. They also finished the Agility Preparedness Plan (Recovery Plan is probably a more appropriate name). Both will go to the Safety Committee for approval.
The focus this week has been on the grass runway. It was cleared and marked with a yellow X at each end to indicate a closed runway. Then both wheel lines were put into place. After several repairs each wheel line was put to use getting the moisture in the ground so after a long dry summer so it can be tilled, packed and seeded properly. Interest in the grass runway continues to remain high from pilots as far away as Eastern Idaho, Washington and Northern California.
Fire and Rescue
Crews did case reviews from 2 extensive multiple victim motor vehicle crashes and medical emergencies for stroke victims.
The self-contained breathing apparatus for the haz-mat team were tested and serviced. The crew also had a rider for the afternoon.
8/30 The crew responded to a grass and rubbish fire that extended to the siding of a house, and a car fire that was on E. Idaho St that was extinguished prior to their arrival.
8/31 The crew responded to a carbon monoxide detector alarm that was going off but they did not find any elevated level so the replaced the batteries in the detector. They also responded to a hay stack fire that was limited to just one bale.
9/4 Rescue 1 responded to a dumpster fire behind Subway that was full of cardboard and was extinguished with one tank of water.
An electrical and rainstorm event on Thursday evening had no impact on operations. Staff has done an exemplary job of proactively mitigating potential problems in the collections system.
Parking lots downtown were swept and then re-striped. All cross walks were painted in the downtown core area, hot tape was not used due the spring construction schedule.
Engineering staff are proposing a ph. adjustment of our effluent. This is one of the requirements of our new NPDES permit. We need to provide a plan for DEQ approval by the end of October.
Parks and Cemetery
Cars in the Park at Lions Park for the week, there may be some issues with grass due to not being able to water.
Tree planting for East Idaho tree project is scheduled to move forward later this fall as weather cools down.
Barb Higinbothom from Community Action will give an education report on Thursday and talk about where we are with services and where we can go from here.
Marijuana Ad Hoc
The committee is scheduled for September 18th at 7 pm. The first item to address is outdoor grows.
Skate Park Bathroom
We met with the architect to get the skate park bathroom designed.
Water Master Plan
We met with Anderson Perry to go over the preliminary work on the water master plan. It is progressing well.
Public Works Projects
Mayor Hill sent me a request from Senator Merkley’s office who sits on the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee. They are looking for potential projects for the Water Resources Development ACT (WRDA). As I reviewed the bill it includes a lot of projects for water restoration and preservation. I will go over projects with Public Works to see what might be ready to be put in the bill.
The Deputy State Fire Marshal and Malheur County Building official met with Chief about different projects that are being built in the county and fire district.
The staff participated in emergency medical training at Parma Fire on Airways and IV’s
Some of the staff visited the Farm workers celebration at Lions Park. Sparky and the staff had a great time helping out at the Super Hero Walk at Alameda elementary.
We are responding to numerous burning complaints due to non-compliance with the burn ban that is in effect. The crew responded to an irrigation pump motor that was on fire and burned up the box protecting it as well. The staff responded to a mutual aid call in Nyssa for a fully involved residence that was covered by the newspaper.
Troubleshooting the visual approach slope indicator lights at the north end of runway 15 showed more than one bad bulb. New ones are ordered and will be at the airport soon.
The department of corrections assisted in weed pulling at the airport with a small crew Tuesday morning and a group of young men from Fruitland helped in the same capacity that evening through the Just Serve program.
The Airport Manager assisted JUB engineering setting the cameras at each end of the runway Thursday.
Community & Economic Development
Staff is reviewing 7 applications for building permits this week. And we have issued 10 permits this week. Staff is staying very busy with inspections on all the issued permits. Staff set out notice on 5 land use actions this past week, took in 3 more land use applications and are continuing to work on 10 other land use applications. We are now at 59 Land Use Actions for this year.
Staff is working on mapping new lease areas on the airport property to aid in updating the Airport ALP Plan (Air Port Layout Plan).
Human Resources and Public Relations
Internal Processes - Peter has been revising some of our forms to help streamline processes and make them more accessible and easier to complete for employees. The long-term goal here is to standardize all paperwork and eliminate outdated versions.
AMP (Athlete Mentorship Program)- Chief Romero continues to co-develop this new TVCC community benefit program that will match college athletes at TVCC with our local high school and middle school students. The purpose is: a) Outreach, b) mentoring services and c) exposure to higher education; with the goal of increasing the number of Ontario Youth that seek higher education.
Chief Romero launched a scholarship campaign at TVCC for a non-profit program that provides scholarship opportunities to college students nationally. The program (Unity Community Initiative-UCI) was developed by one of Chief Romero’s former student, who graduated from BYU-Idaho. Chief Romero sits on the Board of Directors for UCI.
Chief Romero took a tour of the middle school and met with the school administrators and SRO Elizondo, for a ‘meet and greet’ and listening tour of how OPD can improve services to our school population.
Chief Romero met with the Boys and Girls Club Board of Directors to discuss potential new youth programs.
The State of Oregon is mandating all police departments to conduct pre-hire, psychological testing, for all police officers and reserve officers commencing 2020. OPD is already implementing this practice.
An additional storm water line at TVCC was cleaned. Staff spent considerable effort clearing this line. Soil from irrigation run off had plugged the line.
Flashing crosswalk lights were installed at the high school this week.
Traffic crosswalk flags were installed at Verde Drive and West Idaho Avenue.
Crosswalk painting continues throughout the community.
Five benches were installed in the downtown area; the remainder of the benches scheduled for installation will be installed after concrete and asphalt work is completed next spring.
Painting continues at the water facility and is approximately 70 % complete. This work is all being done in-house.
We have increased dosing chemicals to mitigate water odor and taste issues from our raw water source. We have seen some improvement, but we have not eliminated odor and taste. The root cause of this issue is algae blooms in the Snake River.
We are meeting with one of our engineering partners to work on the completion of the water master plan for the City. This is a work in progress and will be completed later this year and presented to the City Council in the fall.
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.