We welcomed a new front desk attendant. Her name is Laura Reyes and she comes to us from working at the 8c School District. She had a great start this week and was welcomed by all the staff.
Roll back to Phase 1 – As everyone knows by now, we are being rolled back to Phase I on Monday. I have been talking with several businesses downtown who are being impacted.
(Important) The federal increase of $400 for unemployment benefits is dependent on the State paying $100 of the $400. It’s possible that the state could pull some or all of our coronavirus relief funds already promised to the city to pay for this unemployment match.
Coronavirus Relief Funds – We are working on a proposed program for businesses that were hurt between the 30% to 50% range. I asked staff to begin while I was gone on my short vacation and they put together a rough outline working with the SBDC.
In addition to using the relief funds for the business support, and the virtualization of our city council meetings, we are also looking to automate some of our processes that can be done online. Right now, there is only online utility billing, but there are many more things we can do online.
River Trail – I had a follow up call to the right-of-way attorney today to inquire about the appraisal. I was told that the appraiser had a serious medical issue and had to drop the case after the property walk. The attorney is picking up another appraiser and the first will not be charging us, but it does slow us down.
Our Town Grant – I spent a good part of the second half of the day helping with the Our Town Grant through National Endowment for Arts. I still have a little to do. We had a follow-up call at noon today to fill in the holes. The grant is due on Tuesday.
PERS Incentive Fund – We received notice from PERS that they are not accepting any more payments to side accounts for the purpose of matching them with the employer incentive fund. Our payments are still covered, it’s just that with the uncertainty of the state finances, they are unsure whether it can be matched going forward. Good thing we got ours in early!
JOINT SEACT/NEACT – Last week Dan Cummings and I attended the joint Eastern Area Committee on Transportation on Wednesday.
Border Board Meeting – Applications for the planning grant will open back up and close in September
I have a meeting scheduled with Business Oregon to help put together the financing package for the BLM base next week. I’m still pushing with several federal officials on the location.
A large cleanup project was completed this week with volunteer help. This puts approximately 1 acre back into usable ground and enables the mower to mow that ground as well.
Work continues on updating leases with one more lease update needed as a hanger sold last week. Considerable interest in hangers at the Ontario airport continues.
Keeping nearly 5 acres of grass runway green and growing through the summer months presented its own challenges. A bid for an underground sprinkler system should be coming in next week. Interest in the grass runway from pilots continues to grow. If you know of people who could do this mowing and clearing, please tell them to make a bid.
Fueling issues are also being addressed and some usable plans are being put together.
Community & Economic Development
The office is open, but door is locked but allowing customers to come in one at a time, but the foot traffic is still at a minimum with most still calling in and/or making appointments.
Staff is reviewing 22 building applications this week and has issued 14 building permits this past week. Dan is keeping busy processing the 31 land use actions. Staff is handling many phone calls and walk-ins dealing with planning issues.
The contract with DLCD on the $50,000 grant has been signed and staff is working with the consultant in putting together the TAC committee and scheduling.
Aug 11th- Chief Romero spent several hours working with OPD’s legal advisors (Lexipol) developing and reviewing three new agency policies (Social media, Wellness Program, and Tactical Armored Vehicle) for OPD. These policies resulted from state mandates, new agency programs, and to update and improve OPD’s risk management capability.
Aug 14th-Chief Romero was selected for a promotional video that will be used to raise awareness and funds for the Special Olympics (SO) Idaho-Eastern Oregon Law Enforcement Torch Run.
Aug 7th- OPD responding to a major accident (Vehicle versus motorcyclist) on east Idaho and SE 3rd street. The accident impacted the area for about 45 minutes while first responders treated the injured motorcyclist who was transported by Life Flight to Boise.
Aug 8th-OPD monitored some minor protest activities at the Ontario Auto Ranch which was led by the organization “Black Live Matters.” The protest activities were peaceful and non-eventful.
OPD continues to respond to a high level of vagrancy related calls due to homeless individuals in and around the area businesses on the east side of the city. OPD has provided resource information to many of the contacted individuals and have also issued several trespassing warnings to many at the request of businesses agents and owners.
Code enforcement continues to have success with issuing and collecting penalties with non-compliant property owners. High visibility efforts and proactive strategies have allowed code enforcement to develop promising new working relationships with many property owners throughout the city, that have historically been non-compliant.
Aug 13th-Code enforcement officer, Rick Reyna, hosted Argus Observer reporter Griffin Hewitt during an agency ride-along. Griffin will be reporting on the topic.
Fire & Rescue
Chief had multiple meetings with the Ontario Rural Fire Board and representatives.
8/4 The staff reviewed and practiced safe moving of bariatric patients. 8/11 The staff did circuit drills again on Water supply and master streams, Rural water supply, and Water rescue.
The crew assisted with the county Covid-19 testing at Malheur County Fairgrounds.
8/2 The staff and mutual aid from other departments fought a fire in the Ontario Sanitary recycle center this was a 12,000 square foot building with heavy smoke and heat and a lot of fuel. I received a great compliment about our fire department from Scott Wilson.
8/3 the crew had a fully involved vehicle fire on SW. 4th Avenue and SW. 30th Street and then rescued a group of baby quail from the storm drain on Tori Drive. (Hero work!)
8/4 The staff responded to a fire in Laxson Park and only found a BBQ with hot coals.
8/5 Rescue 1 responded to N. Park Boulevard for a gas smell and were not able to find any hazards and only a slight odd smell.
8/8 The crew responded to 509 SE 2nd Street for an illegal burn of burning weeds in a pit without a burn permit and the burn ban in effect.
8/10 Rescue 1 responded to a child burned from playing with fire. The fire was investigated, and the child was treated and transported for burns to his stomach and legs area.
8/12 The crew responded to a grass fire on I-84 and MP 375 started from sparks from a vehicle.
8/14 Rescue 1 responded Ontario Auto Ranch to investigate some type of gas or liquid problem after two employees went to the hospital for medical issues.
8/14 The crew responded to assist OPD with equipment for a scene and they also responded for a vehicle fire on NE 3rd Avenue.
The Public Works office remains closed to public and non-essential employees.
Crews are hot taping and painting crosswalks and school zone around town.
Garbage cans, bike racks, and benches were installed on South Oregon. Crews have been painting stop bars at the intersections.
Crews have removed the sunken sidewalk and gutter at Aquatic Center and are pouring a new sidewalk and gutter plate.
August 11, 2020 at 12:33 p.m. Knife River was excavating for a storm line installation on the SE 2nd Street Project when they hit and broke a 6" water main. Jacobs crews responded to the call and had the water main isolated by 1:10pm. Knife River started pumping water out of the excavation and called their pipe crew to repair the damaged line. Repair was finished at 5:15pm. Once the repair was complete, Jacobs crews began flushing the water line and collecting chlorine residual samples. A “Boil Water” notice was issued to the 17 homes affected by the line break.
The contractor for the pH adjustment project is onsite removing obsolete equipment. The project is on track for completion by the third week in August.
The pump feeding Malheur Farm that had failed has been replaced.
City Hall HVAC UV lights are in the works. This will be reimbursed by the coronavirus relief funds.
The skate park restroom project is on hold due to COVID-19. At this time, it is unknown how long of a delay with will create
The Mercury Minimization plan for the waste treatment plant is under final review before submitting it to Oregon DEQ.
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.