Chamber Forum – We hosted the chamber forum from the council chamber this week. I think it went mostly smooth.
SREDA - We had a SREDA meeting on Tuesday morning. Our membership has been very beneficial. They help us with a lot with responses to business leads from the state.
ESPC - We spent a lot of time working on the Energy Savings Performance Contracting project with Ameresco and Public Works.
Tater Tots Trail - Was a lot there was a lot of action on the tater tots trail this week. I spoke with the Department of State lands and the Oregon Parks and Recreation Department. It looks like OPRD wants to tie our acquisition of right-of-way to taking over the State Park. This may be something we need to talk with our legislators about. The Department of State lands gave me applications to file for right of way. There is a piece that is owned by the Department of Transportation so we'll have to work with them also.
Human Resources/Insurance – Peter and I met with Waldo Insurance to go over some transition plans. There is a handing over of the baton that they wanted to be smooth.
Grants – I submitted two grants this week. One was done mostly by Merchant McIntyre. That’s for planning of the north/south trail connector. The other grant I wrote myself was for downtown wayfinding signs. There is a really quick turnaround on the second one.
Budget – Peter, Kari, and I had our budget meeting with Public Works. We went through all of the capital projects.
Jacobs – We met with Jacobs today to begin negotiating a rate with them. We talked about a lot of the impacts on our systems.
Homeless - We continue to make progress in getting the Boise Rescue Mission to help us in Ontario. It’s really encouraging. We are having success moving people in and out of the transitional shelter.
Security Cameras – We have made progress on working with a business downtown to partner on getting security cameras. They would allow us to use their internet connection and we would share the feed for that camera with them. That allows us to help the downtown merchants as well as keep the city secure.
The airport held its first Airport Committee Meeting on Monday night and continued to work on its future development by working through a number of items. However, the main focus was to introduce the new airport manager with the committee and ensure a beneficial relationship moving forward.
The airport recently discovered, through standard airfield inspection, an unauthorized airport access (and subsequent fence damage) that is being handled effectively in conjunction with the Police Department. Both the PD and airport management takes the airport security extremely important.
The airport also held a PDAC meeting with Public Works, and City Planning for a new hangar that is set to be built in the very near future (spring/summer 2021). Lastly, airport management is working closely with its consulting firm regarding the scope and fee for its upcoming master plan. As needed, airport management will quickly notify the council and airport committee of scope, fee, and/or any changes, as they come forth.
Community & Economic Development
Staff reviewed 21 building applications the past couple of weeks and has issued 2 building permits this past week. Three of the permits issued are new single-family homes in the new subdivision called “Brockside Subdivision” with more new homes being reviewed. This is the subdivision near the DMV and cemetery.
Staff is working with the developers of the proposed 170 space RV Park with clubhouse on the SE side of town on the Hanigan property along SE 5th Avenue and SE 10th Street and their rezoning of part of the property will be heard in front of the Planning Commission on February 8, 2021.
Staff held 3 PDAC’s this week.
The Planning department is keeping busy processing the 46 land use actions from last year and the 5 so far this year with one being a new Cannabis retail facility making it number 15 if approved.
Staff is still working on all of the code updates and TSP (Transportation System Plan) changes and will bringing the results to the Planning Commission at the April 12 meeting.
The construction has started on the extension of SE Goodfellow Street and the north side of SE 5th Avenue from SE 13th Street to Malheur Federal Credit Union development but has stalled while waiting on obtaining the DEQ 1200C permit required which is a storm water prevention plan.
Staff continues to work on the Project called Ontario Townhouse which received a $5,325,000 LIFT (Local Innovation and Fast Tract) housing project grant and is in the process of reviewing the re-plat of the property for this development.
Staff continues to work with developers on several large projects as well as the developer on the Stellings property that the City accepted their offer and are in their due diligent process.
Staff is working with the developers on the design of Airport Way which will involve the City to construct their half of Airport Way or grant a DIA and approve the developer to construct only a half street as well as the development and construction plans of the Cannabis retail and industrial subdivision on Airport Way.
Fire & Rescue
2/1 The Ontario Chamber started back up their community forums virtually. This was done from the City Council Chambers with the Help of Adam, Peter, and Chief Leighton. The speakers were Sarah Poe and Craig Geddes from Malheur County Health. 2/2 We got to finally get our safety committee back together for some good discussion. 2/3 The staff attended 3 different PAC meetings with the building department and Jacobs members. 2/4 Veronica and Chief attended the Rural Fire District monthly meeting.
2/5 Chief and Building officials met with the facilities manager of MCCDC about a remodel to the classrooms.
2/2 The staff attended a webinar on Causes of Sudden Unexpected Infant Death Syndrome. We also learned tactics and methods to reduce the causes of SUIDS.
1/30, 2/3,4/21 Chief and some staff assisted with three Covid-19 vaccine distribution clinics. They were Saturday at FRCC, Wednesday at Fire Station 2, and Thursday at St. Al’s parking garage. 1/30 The staff participated in a drive by parade at Brookdale Retirement Center.
This week the crews responded on the normal medical calls and 2 false alarms and then a chimney fire.
Feb 1st- Chief Romero worked on updating the city’s non-commercial dog kennel application and approval process. OPD has two pending applications for non-commercial kennel permits.
Feb 1st- Chief Romero granted an interview and ride-a-long to the Oregon Daily News (Bend, OR) who spent a ½ day with the chief observing the Ontario community. The purpose of their news cast was to show some of the community concerns that are created due to drug addiction, homelessness, and the marijuana retail industry.
Weekly- Lt. Cooper finalized the OPD training center roof repair with the city’s vendor and completed OPD’s latest handgun transition for replacement of older OPD weapons.
Feb 4th- Chief Romero attended a 3-hour legal update training seminar regarding Oregon’s Measure 110, which became law on Feb 1st. OPD should not have to make too many procedural adjustments, as a result of the new legislation.
Feb 4th- Chief Romero granted a telephonic interview to a writer from the Cannabis Business Times (GIE Media, Inc. Ohio) regarding the impacts the retail marijuana industry has had on OPD and the Ontario community.
Feb 1st- OPD responded to a traffic collision with injuries at SE 5th Ave and SE 2nd Street The collision was triggered by an operator of a tractor trailer that committed a traffic violation and collided with a passenger car. The elderly passenger in the car sustained severe injuries and was taken to a Boise area hospital via life flight. The case is active and being referred to the District Attorney’s Office for review and consideration of a criminal complaint against the truck driver.
Feb 3rd-OPD responded to a child abuse case in the SW part of the city. The stepfather of a 2-year-old boy was suspected of causing significant injury to the toddler. This case is on-going and the suspect has been charged with various child abuse related felonies. Case was featured in the Malheur Enterprise.
Weekly-OPD responded to some intercepted intelligence of a subject from council, Idaho that was upset with the Ontario, Walmart because he was denied entry when he refused to wear a mask. The subject who is a taco truck vendor used his social media platform to create a call to action for fellow “Patriots” to join him in a mask free shopping intrusion at the Walmart this Saturday at 1:00 p.m. OPD has been in contact with the Walmart management and area law enforcement partners to respond if needed.
Feb 5th- Chief Romero met with the Ontario Train Depot caretakers to conduct an on-site safety walk through to discuss how to best protect this iconic city asset against trespassers and drug activities that had previously been a problem at the location.
A Whole New Council! Well, I thought it was a big change last election, and when Council was all seated up there Thursday night, I thought wow, this is even more change from the last time, there are four Councilors that are new. I am looking forward to working with all of them.
SEACT/NEACT – Dan and I participated in the joint Southeast Area Commission on Transportation (SEACT) jointly with the NEACT (northeast). As we expected and hoped they committed the additional dollars toward the Southeast 5th Avenue project. I expressed the city’s appreciation for the additional funding.
Merchant McIntyre – I had an update call with Merchant McIntyre about our grant writing. They had a meeting with one of the new higher ups at the EDA about our project. They are going to do a preliminary review for which they will give us the most likely match case under which we would be funded. That’s going to be from 20% to 50% or in real dollars that’s a difference of $440k and $1.1 million. I spent some of my time today reaching out to Americold and Dickenson Fry Foods for support letters.
Additional Grants they are working on include:
Grantees for Border Board – We were able to get checks cut for all the Border Board Grantees and one picked it up personally. They greatly appreciated the City’s help.
Homeless Shelter – Our small committee had a meeting with Bill Roscoe who runs the Boise Rescue Mission. It was very informative. They have been doing their shelter for over 50 years so it’s a pretty well-oiled machine. They are entirely funded through private donations. Operations are going well at the shelter now.
COVID – I don’t know if you have noticed, but while the rest of the state is seeing a surge, Malheur County has been going down. Our positivity rate has been steadily declining from 15.4%, to 12.9%, and 12.9% over the last three weeks, which is roughly half of where we were a month ago.
Vaccinations are nearly complete for group 1a, which is the first responders and medical care workers. That includes assisted living facility care takers. The Governor threw in teachers between 1a and 1b so that our teachers can get back to in-class teaching. I think seniors are in the next grouping. It’s not very simple to understand and there is not really a time frame on the general public.
We distributed heaters and tents to 3 more businesses this week. That seems to be greatly appreciated.
Walmart – The City was able to lock up an agreement with Walmart for an easement along the Snake River for the Tater Tot Trail. That’s the first big piece of the puzzle.
Airport – We closed out the Airport fence project with the FAA. It’s been done for a while, but it’s nice to get out from underneath all the reporting requirements to finish it up.
The airport committee met Monday night, but they did not have a quorum, so we just talked briefly about continuing operations until our Airport Manager gets here.
Gazebo – We will probably have to get a company to move the Gazebo being donated from the LeBoutillier’s, or maybe better known as “The Garden Answer” Youtube Channel. The crews looked at it and decided they did not have the right equipment. They have someone coming to look at it on Monday. This is a specific goal in the strategic plan, in addition, to the parks master plan.
Ameresco – This is an energy audit to see if there are some savings, we can garner from making improvements. These energy savings would be guaranteed by the ESCo (Energy Savings Company). We may have a presentation ready for you as early as the 19th, but I need to make sure the financials are in order. I’m meeting with them again next week to go over the package.
Fire & Rescue
The Chief and I attended the Malheur County COVID-19 task force meeting virtually. Some of the staff attended a couple of other meetings for the Rural Fire Board and the county vaccine events.
Fire staff is still being done on Zoom. Staff spent a couple weeks on fire cause and origin, and our medical training on the Lucas CPR machine and IV set ups.
COVID-19 is part of our everyday patient care life right now. We are participating and using Station 2 for COVID-19 testing on 12/29 and COVID-19 vaccines on 1/6 to reduce the outbreak.
12/19 1327 SW. 12th St. single family home structure fire. 12/23 - 375 Dorian / Dorian Place Commercial fire sprinkler system failure. 12/25 1356 SW. 11th St. Gas Leak and I-84 MP 375 a car had oil leak onto the manifold and was smoking. 12/26 - SE. 1st St. and SE. 1st Ave. A piece of heat tape in a gutter downspout was arcing. 12/27 and 1/1 Three times the crews responded to 165 NE. 6th Ave. for fire alarm and fire sprinkler issues. 12/27 - 420 SE. 2nd St. Residential tri-plex structure fire. 12/28 - I-84 MP 375 Homeless camp warming fire and 49 NW. 1st St. Smoke smell. 12/29 - I-84 MP 377 Welcome center and 653 E. Idaho two separate car fires. 1/6 484 NW 1st St. Assist OPD with ladder, and 266 Goodfellow had a broken commercial fire sprinkler line.
Erik Hartley, our newly hired Airport Manager will start officially on January 19.
Testing and interviews will be conducted to fill a Police Officer vacancy on January and 21-22.
Officer Reyna will be assisting with seeking out kennel service options, updated abatement processes and fine matrix, and final data migration from the CEO data platforms.
A new OPD statistics report and was created and shared at the city council meeting. The chief is proud of the department for exceeded their Part -1 crime reduction goal for 2020.
Jan 6th- Chief Romero participated in a COVID-19 update seminar hosted by the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP). Dr Anthony Fauci MD, IACP attorney Jack Collins and two large city chiefs provided information and legal perspectives regarding the COVID-19 vaccination campaigns taking place throughout the country. Chief Romero distributed the video and information to all OPD staff.
Jan 7th- Lt. Cooper and IT-office Manager Sheri Smith responded to a moderate OPD radio failure. Through their coordination with the city’s communications contractor, OPD was able to operate temporarily from a borrowed MCSO radio frequency until OPD’s main channel could be repaired. It was learned that the radio antenna located at the hospital was failing and was the cause of the radio failure. OPD is working with the communications contractor on a long-term repair strategy.
Jan 3rd – OPD assisted the Sheriff’s Department and State Police on the tragic domestic homicide that was outside the city boundaries.
Jan 7th- OPD responded to a report of a mentally distraught man that was making verbal threats to family members and anyone that attempted to approach him inside their home. OPD was successful in assisting the family members out of the home and preventing any physical confrontation with the subject. OPD was able to use time as a strategy and took the subject into custody, a few hours later once the hostile subject fell asleep. The subject was arrested for various outstanding felony warrants and threats he launched at his family members.
Jan 8th-OPD responded to a vehicle crash with injury in front of the Les Schwab Tire Center on east Idaho. A motorist suspected of driving distracted rear ended a stopped vehicle causing the distracted driver’s vehicle to overturn in the roadway.
This week, Code enforcement operated with reduced staffing due to the departure of OPD’s second CEO.
Officer Reyna focused on city-wide traffic hazard concerns, data collection for abated properties, and updating issued lien records.
Street sweeping is on-going for the next few weeks. We repaired 1 water service that was hit by a contractor. Crews are completing annual maintenance on the Bar screen at SRCI, replacing bearing and seals. Crews also delivered tents, heaters, and propane to business that requested them.
Crews finished the railing on the Beck Park Bridge. Painting will be done when weather permits later in the spring.
The chlorine generator heater failed. Staff replaced the heating controller along with a contract electrician. Crews continued aerator electrical work with Fruitland Electric.
All Ozone HVAC systems have been installed. The HVAC unit at the PW shop that failed was replaced.
Parks and Cemeteries
Staff continue to work on the new trash cans installation. Staff is also trimming trees and repairing picnic tables and benches.
A rental flow meter was installed at the Tapadera Lift station to determine capacity. Staff pulled the flow meter out and will review the data collected. Staff continue to work on the CIP budget. An upgrade will be needed for the new development going in.
Hearings Officer – A solicitation was put out for a Code Enforcement Hearings Officer.
Tater Tots Trail – Dan was super helpful in getting some drawings updated for the Walmart easement acquisition for the trail, that Walmart requested.
School – We worked collaboratively with the 8C School district this week to help keep some dogs off the Aiken school grounds. The dogs on the school property were tormenting a dog living behind the school and its owner.
Airport Manager Replacement – We conducted an interview cut for applicants for the airport manager job. The first-round interviews have been scheduled.
Graffiti - Councilor Rodriguez let me know about the graffiti on the underpass Tuesday morning. I’m happy to report that public works got it painted over the same day. The tagging on the utility box wrap was also removed without damaging the artwork.
Energy Savings Study – I met with Ameresco to go over the energy savings project. We looked through the list together. We are going to have a final meeting with Jacobs before coming to the City Council.
Homeless Shelter – We are having a weekly conference call for the homeless transitional shelter every Wednesday. It seems to be moving with a little clearer direction at this time. The critical path right now is the electrician. We got some commitments from our faith-based community for items needed for residents. They stand at ready to respond to help needed as very willing partners.
The repair to the perimeter fence at the north end of the field that was damaged after a police chase has been completed. The Airport rotating beacon is out of service again and a NOTAM has been issued. We are looking into a more reliable light. A set of plans to construct a new hangar has been turned in and will be reviewed by the Airport Committee Monday night as a first step toward approval.
Toby, Dan B. and Dan C. met with the FAA to discuss the master planning effort. They reported that it was a good meeting and we should be fine to move forward. We will be looking for a final scope of work and budget needs for approval of the agreement with JUB.
Fire & Rescue
11/16/20 Some of the COVID-19 safety team met to work on the new OSHA rules and requirements that have come out for dealing with COVID-19. 11/19 Chief and others attended the weekly county COVID-19 Task Force Meeting.
11/18 Chief met with the fire sprinkler company at Presbyterian care facility to work on a plan for the large remodel. 11/19 Chief did Knox Box follow ups at 3 dispensaries, and TVCC Vo-Tech. Chief worked with Manager at Marshalls for Occupancy limits, due to temporary COVID-19 restrictions.
Due to the group restrictions from COVID-19 our training has been cancelled for a couple of weeks.
11/17 Chief assisted with the county COVID-19 testing at the fairgrounds.
This week the staff responded to a few burning complaints, some were illegal burns and others just nuisance reports. 11/14 The crew responded to an old, abandoned house on fire on SE 18th Avenue. This was in the middle of an open field and was just being used as a flop house by transients that had started a fire and it caught the structure on fire. The owner asked that we let it burn down, and we allowed that. 11/17 Rescue 1 responded for a gas smell at a business on SW 1st Street. They shut off the gas and found no signs of leaks or unsafe gas levels, but they had Cascade Gas respond to check further.
The Airport Manager recruitment window has closed. Staff will perform initial interviews for the top nine candidates of the recruitment. Candidates have been scheduled for December 2 and 4.
Nov 17th-OPD hosted a department training day for sworn and reserve personnel. Training provided legal updates and re-certification for several state mandated areas of training such as ethics, Crisis Intervention Tactics, DUI enforcement, and non-lethal force options.
Nov 18th- Chief Romero and the OPD Detective unit granted an interview and case review to the Malheur Enterprise for an unsolved homicide case from 2019. The Malheur Enterprise will run a story on this case in an effort to trigger some public assistance for additional leads and information that could assist with solving the open case.
Nov 19th- Chief Romero met with HR Manager Hall to develop a job classification and bulletin for an upcoming employment opportunity for Code Enforcement Hearings Officer position(s). HR Manager Hall produced a compelling job solicitation flyer and position description.
Nov 19th- Chief Romero attended a Boys and Girls Club planning and board meeting. Chief Romero was recommended for and accepted the chair position for the Boys and Girls Club’s sustainability committee.
Nov 20th- Chief Romero reports that OPD’s city credit card was fraudulently obtained and used in the state of Texas recently. All steps have been taken to ensure the city is not liable for the expenditures and the fraudulent activity will be reported to the appropriate Texas law enforcement authorities. Chief Romero will use this OPD experience to remind the public (Via OPD Facebook) about best practices for reducing the odds of becoming a fraud victim.
Nov 16th- OPD responded to a shooting call at a business in downtown. The investigation revealed that the business owner accidentally discharged his personally owned handgun and was struck in the leg. The owner was transported to a Boise area hospital via life-flight. Injury was non-life threatening.
Nov 16th- OPD responded to the Walmart parking lot regarding a frantic female yelling that her father had jumped off the East Idaho Avenue bridge into the Snake River. OPD’s investigation revealed that the female was having either drug-induced or mental illness induced hallucinations. The female’s family responded to the scene and were able to take her to a local hospital for a psychiatric evaluation.
Nov 18th- OPD conducted a joint agency crime impact operation in efforts to curtail illicit drug related crimes.
Nov 19th-OPD responded to the Pilot Travel Center regarding two chronic, drug addicted homeless individuals that were already being sought by OPD. Both subjects stole from the location and were contacted nearby. One suspect surrendered without incident, while the other fled on foot and eventually brandished a knife at the officers who attempted to detain him. After a brief standoff and use of non-lethal force, the second suspect was arrested by OPD with the assistance of County and State law enforcement partners.
Nov 19th- Chief Romero, accompanied by city manager Brown responded to a downtown business regarding a complaint of the business not following current COVID 19 state mandates. The business owners were contacted and provided with educational information.
Nov 20th-Chief Romero conducted evening patrol operations with the night shift, to address no seatbelt and DUI violations. OPD responds to a high amount of traffic collisions and is looking to create a safer highway environment for all motorist during the upcoming holiday season.
This week, code enforcement officers spent a substantial amount of time training and working on data migration for a newly procured data processing platform (iWorQ) that will be used by the city and OPD code enforcement. This new platform will improve work efficiency and communication between code enforcement and community members.
Code enforcement responded to two dog bite events this week involving the same dog and bite victim. The owner has been issued a citation for the identified violations.
CEO Reyna assisted Public Works with a report of a homeless camper who was trespassing on nearby lands and whos’ vicious dogs chased public works employees as they passed by.
Street sweeping is on-going for the next few weeks. Crews continue fall maintenance of storm water catch basins around the city. Crews installed a new level sensor in the Bench Reservoir tank. Leaves are being picked up.
River Pump #1 is repaired and waiting for installation by the contractor. WesTec Unit #1 is out of service until new media beads are received.
The bio-solids removal contractor has removed 2,543 dry tons of biosolids from Lagoon #1 since dredging began Oct. 26th.
DMRQA Study 40 has been completed and submitted to the State.
The air handling wheel motor for the City Hall HVAC system has failed. A replacement has been sourced and ordered.
Parks and Cemeteries
Staff continue mulching activities at Beck and Lions Parks. The Columbarium has been installed at Evergreen Cemetery.
A rental flow meter will be installed at the Tapadera Lift station to determine capacity.
COVID – Well I think the new restrictions kind of hit everyone with a gasp of wind. We were hoping not to see something like this again. I’m sure you feel the same as I, worried about businesses and workers getting by. The two week “pause” goes into effect on Wednesday.
Airport Master Plan - We had a good start towards getting the Airport Master Plan underway. Our engineer is going to communicate with the FAA. We don’t think there will be as much red tape since this is funded through the Border Funds and not FAA dollars.
Engineering and Capital Projects - We met with our public works staff this week to go over our capital projects and to talk about getting the new projects underway as the Council authorized me to do last week.
Merchant McIntyre – I met with Merchant McIntyre a few times last week. They are making some progress on our grants and we opened up a new discussion with Northwest Housing Alternatives about a health care grant.
Yiftee – Peter has been working with the Small Business Development Center on a gift card program for local businesses. The SBDC built their website, and it looks like they are going to get it launched in time for the holiday shopping season, which is perfect timing because of our “pause”, our businesses will need every help we can get them. Find out more at www.shopfourrivers.com/.
OCCMA Board of Directors - I participated in the Board retreat for the Oregon City Managers Association, as a new member of the Board of Directors, for a portion of Thursday and some of Friday. It’s a great insight to have more contact with my peers around the state.
Homeless Shelter – We worked throughout the week with Community in Action and the property owner for the relocation of the shelter. We are helping bridge some communication gaps.
Councilor’s Elect – I reached out to our Councilors Elect to schedule an orientation and also to help them get scheduled for the new elected officials training through the League of Oregon Cities.
Dan gave Al Cablay a tour the airport and briefly talk about snow removal this winter. The discussion included the surplus of old airport and golf course items.
On Monday the Beacon Light was restored to working order and the NOTAM was lifted after nearly two weeks of being down.
The cold weather is closing the window on our construction this fall. A meeting set for this Friday morning with the Airport Manager, JUB engineering, and the construction team will decide whether to continue or to stop for the year.
The Airport served just under $100 million worth of transient aircraft this week.
Fire and Rescue
The Deputy State Fire Marshal and Chief did a follow up inspection at the airport for one of the Ag services staging area. The building official and Chief did a final inspection on the exit gates at Wal-Mart in conjunction with the fire alarm system. We also did a couple of other inspections at residential projects and at the Presbyterian housing project.
The Chief along with other investigators worked on finding the cause of a garage fire.
The staff did a tour of the Americold plant and trained on the dangers of an ammonia leak or fire. Veronica did a train the trainer class on proper lifting techniques and protecting the back.
11/8 Rescue 1 responded to a gas leak at 41 North Dorian Drive.
11/9 The crew responded to a dumpster fire at 881 North Oregon Street.
11/10 Multiple crews responded to a garage fire with other structures threatened. The fire was contained to a small amount of the structure and some of the contents. There is heavy smoke damage to all the structure and contents.
Nov 9th- Chief Romero issued a Press Release (20-11-001) regarding an Invasion of Privacy incident that occurred at the Ontario Walmart on two prior dates. The case is still active and pending the adjudication process.
Nov 10th- Chief Romero attended an online meeting with the Malheur County Law Enforcement Executive group. Potential impacts to the region from the passing of measure 110 were briefly discussed. COVID 19 concerns were also discussed due to the implementation of the OSHA COVID 19 Temporary Rule.
Nov 12th- Chief Romero attended an online Malheur County COVID 19 Taskforce meeting. All agencies confirmed their compliance with current state and county recommendations as well as preparation for the launch of the OSHA Temporary Rule. Lt. Cooper (OPD) is working on an agency safety plan for OPD and conformed OPD’s procurement of a portable sanitizing device.
Nov 13th- Chief Romero issued an agency directive to all OPD personnel, regarding the Oregon OSHA COVID 19 Temporary Rule created to reduce the spread of corona virus at the workplace.
Nov 10th-Chief Romero spent some time out on patrol with OPD officers and assisted officers with the search for some known drug offenders and theft suspects. One suspect also has an outstanding felony arrest warrant. OPD recovered some suspected stolen property and impounded the abandoned RV the suspects use to transport large amounts of marijuana and during their criminal activity. The search continues for the wanted suspect.
Nov 13th-OPD continues to respond to calls regarding homeless subjects trespassing or causing disturbances in the east section of the city. Calls vary from traffic hazards (subjects walking in roadway) to subjects trespassing onto the DHS property and surrounding areas.
Nov 12th- OPD CE conducted four abatement appeal hearings for four different appellants. All hearings were resolved during their scheduled allotted time.
This week, CE officers responded to some animal control related calls due to the dogs being reported as vicious or dangerous towards other dogs and pedestrians.
Jacobs staff are working on the Beck Park Bridge repair. They poured wood stabilizing epoxy in the rotting beam sockets and installed additional support brackets under each beam end. Once the epoxy cures, they will continue with the repair.
Crews continue fall maintenance of storm water catch basins around the city. Crews have been flushing blind water distribution lines to ensure stagnant water is not accumulating. Street sweeping is on-going for the next few weeks.
River Pump #1 is repaired and waiting for installation by the contractor. WesTec Unit #1 is out of service until new media beads are received.
The bio-solids removal contractor has removed 1622 dry tons of biosolids from Lagoon #1 since dredging began October 26th. Jacobs staff performed solids mapping of the west end of Lagoon #1 and validated that the contractor has removed the amount of solids targeted. The bio-solids dredging moved to the east end of Lagoon #1 after Jacobs staff moved all the aerators to the west end of the lagoon.
Pigeons are infesting several City owned buildings. Jacobs is researching ways to control them.
Parks and Cemeteries
Staff continue mulching activities at Beck and Lions Parks. Several Jacobs staff members have been attending a training webinar to ensure timely renewal of their pesticide application licenses.
Capital improvement requests are being developed for the upcoming annual budget process.
Well, it was a good start to the week with the notification from the Border Board to fund the Airport Master Plan by $200,000.
New Video – Peter finished a video about the city’s recent capital projects and has posted it on our website. To take a look at it, click here. It’s really well done.
New Councilor Orientation – I met with Councilor Hart early in the week for the City New Councilor Orientation. I’ll be reaching out to Mr. Kirby, Baker, and Melendrez to schedule an orientation with them over the next four weeks.
Legislative Policy: It’s that time of year where we need to start putting together the legislative program for the city.
YIFTEE – Peter has been working with the Small Business Development Center, particularly with Chris Holloway and Andrea Testi, to get a local business gift card program. This will hopefully give our local businesses a boost for the holiday shopping.
Shovel Ready Engineering – I will be meeting with Jacobs staff next week to start the process of getting some engineering projects ready, as council directed Thursday night.
COVID-19 – The governor asked for a two week pause on social activities today at her press conference. A few highlights. Pause on long-term care facility visits. Does not change any rules for faith-based gatherings. Staff need to work from home to greatest extent possible. Limit social interactions to your own household. For the full press conference click here. Governor Brown said, “If we don’t stop the spread, further closures are imminent.”
City Funding – Our first two rounds of funding for business relief have expired. So, we are left with our own program.
Senior Center – I investigated the senior center and their HVAC has been fixed. I’ve been working with Stan’s Heating; however, and they have a product that can be added to the air handler that says it will capture 99% of viral airborne pathogens. We are working on estimates for that work.
Trace Contacting App –The state is looking at an exposure notification system by smart phone. A study in Washington showed that a 15% usage of the smart phone app correlated with a 15% dip in the transmission rate. You would just get a text notifying you if you were exposed to someone with COVID 19. The map below shows the state surge for the winter.
Construction is continuing on the taxiway and hold apron.
A virtual meeting with the FAA has been scheduled for next Monday as we look at airport improvement plans over the course of the next five years.
Land/commercial leases are being amended for future use for agricultural applicators including containment, storage, and reporting of chemicals on the field in accordance with the Department of Environmental Quality standards.
The grass runway is moving closer to a permanent solution for irrigation as the bid to install the system that has been recommended by the Airport Committee will hopefully be completed this fall.
Both open recruitments are performing well. The Airport Manager position will close 11/15/2020 and the Police Officer position will close 11/30/2020.
Nov 2nd- Chief Romero conducted a review and analysis of OPD’s Use of Force policy; to stay consistent with the goals and objectives of the Safe Policing for Safe Communities Policy (Presidential Executive Order No. 13929). All Oregon Law Enforcement agencies are being asked to review policies to be eligible for federal grant funding.
Nov 2nd- Chief Romero continues to work with city staff and OPD staff to finalize an RFP for dog kennel services. OPD continues to operate without a current kennel service agreement and is utilizing local veterinarian services for animal related calls.
Nov 2nd- Chief Romero met with the new Public Works Director to discuss joint traffic safety improvement strategies and critical infrastructure protection. They will continue the conversation.
Nov3rd- Chief Romero has commenced with a 2021-2025 OPD Strategic Plan. Chief Romero is working with community members, the OPD team, and city staff to develop a sound plan. Chief Romero hopes to deliver the plan to the city manager by Spring 2021.
Nov 5th-Chief Romero conducted an on-camera interview with Boise Channel 2 News regarding the passing of Oregon Ballot Measure 110. Chief provided a summarized overview of the legislation content and what potential impacts the new law may have on Ontario.
Nov-3rd OPD worked with Malheur County Probation and Parole to locate and arrest a wanted felon that has been evading arrest for some time. The individual was wanted on an outstanding Federal Warrant for weapons violations and is suspected of gang and drug activities in Ontario and the surrounding area. The suspect was located and arrested by OPD at the P&P office with the help of P&P staff. Great arrest and another serious felon removed from Ontario.
Nov 5th- OPD responded to a Domestic Violence related call in the NW section of the city. OPD arrested the suspect after he fled in a vehicle and collided with another motorist prior to OPD’s arrival.
Nov 5th-OPD responded to Walmart, regarding a male subject using his cell phone and videotaping up the skirts of female patrons. The subject was taken into custody for Invasion of personal privacy and disorderly conduct. The arrested subject is from New Plymouth, Idaho. OPD suspects there may be additional victims and intends to issue a Press Release in the near future.
Nov 2nd- OPD CE responded to a trash complaint at the Mall site on SW 4th Ave. CE contacted the property management and issued a notice to correct to the property management/owner(s). Corrective measures were taken almost immediately.
Nov 4th-OPD CE investigated another “Pitbull” dog attack that resulted in moderate injury to the dog bite victim. Dog owner(s) have not been identified or located. The case will remain open and the dog has been impounded by OPD CE for the safety of the community.
Nov 4th-OPD CE impounded the vehicle of a chronic parking violator who also routinely litters large amounts of trash onto the public right away in the NE section of town near the Motel 6. Vehicle owner was also cited for littering.
This week, CE officers issued 7 property abatement liens due to non-compliance by the property owners.
Fire & Rescue
10/28,30 Chief and the Building Officials did final inspections and follow ups at 44 SE 9th Avenue for a Hemp processor. 10/30, 11/3 Chief and Building officials did final inspections and follow ups at TVCC Vo-Tech center building.
10/27 Staff did the last week of smoke detector inspections and installations. 11/3 The staff did a hands-on review of vehicle extrication equipment.
10/24 MDA fill the boot fund raiser. The members collected from the generous community $14,750 for this worthy cause.
10/23 Numerous engines and staff responded to 497 Foothill Road for a shop fire started by a wood stove. Rescue 1 also responded to assist OPD at a crime scene.
10/24 The staff responded to Holiday Inn at 210 SE 10th Street for smoke and burning smell. They found light smoke and some mechanical issues with the elevator.
10/25 NW 36th Street Rescue 1 assisted numerous police agencies with opening a safe during a search warrant.
10/27 Rescue 1 and an engine responded to Mutual Aid Treasure Valley Paramedics with vehicle extrication for a roll over on I-84 MP 357.
10/28 1187 NW 11th Street The staff and numerous apparatus responded to a fully involved motor home and house with an attached garage fire. The fire also required mutual aid from four other departments. This fire was very difficult to fully extinguish due to construction and it continued to smolder and burn for many days.
10/29 Rescue 1 responded to a tree stump fire on SE 1stStreet.
10/30 The crew responded to a dumpster fire on SE 1st Street which is becoming a common theme. 10/31 R-1 responded to a tree fire that was started due to an unattended burn pile.
11/4 The staff responded to a structure fire at 2565 SW 4th Avenue they were able to contain the fire to a water heater and the walls around it with just smoke through the rest of the mobile home.
11/5 Crews responded to a fence fire that also spread to a garage on SW 7th Street that was started by transients burning tree limbs. They also responded to a vehicle fire on Hwy 201 at MP 25.
Street sweeping is on-going for the next few weeks.
Jacobs staff members are working with other members of the community to prep the location where the homeless tiny houses are going to be relocated to.
Crews are beginning the fall maintenance of storm water catch basins around the city.
River Pump #1 is repaired and waiting for installation by the contractor. Staff have begun winterization activities at the water plant. Crews will be cleaning Recovery Bed #3.
The bio-solids removal contractor has removed 750 dry tons of biosolids from Lagoon #1 since dredging began Oct. 26th. Treated plant effluent water is being discharged to the Snake River as of November 1st.
The Community Development building HVAC system now has an ozone disinfection system installed and operational.
Parks and Cemeteries
Winterizing of sprinkler systems is ongoing. Staff have started mulching activities at Beck and Lions Parks.
Tapadera Lift Station capacity needs to be determined so future development can be pursued in the area it serves.
Upgrades to the fiber communications systems at the airport are being planned.
The SRCI wastewater syphon that will eliminate the Lower Lift Station is being reviewed.
Lots of night meetings again this week. Airport Committee on Monday, Council Meeting on Tuesday, Regional Equity in Recovery Team on Wednesday, and Chief’s Advisory Committee on Thursday.
COVID-19 – Our county numbers have been improving, but as you can see, our national numbers are showing a resurgence of the virus and the fear is that, compounded with the flu, it is even more lethal.
The County is focused on increasing testing capacity so that they can keep our positive rate down.
Coronavirus Relief Funds – We are getting money spent.
North-South Trail – Two budgets ago we had money for planning the North-South trail in the budget, but we needed that money to complete the Treasure Valley Connector Trail. I submitted a letter of interest, a short application, for the 2021 Oregon Community Paths Grant Program. If we get approved to move on in the application, I can get Merchant McIntyre to help with the grant writing.
Tech Support – Peter finished the RFP for the tech support so that will go out to bid soon. To refresh your memory, that was budgeted to provide backup support for our in-house tech specialist.
Leadership Team - We had some good, but tough conversations about diversity and equity in our leadership team meeting this week. We don’t always agree, and it can be uncomfortable, but we need to have those discussions.
Energy Study – We got our first look at the energy savings study and potential savings. We will be going over that in the coming weeks and it will eventually come to the council for decision making.
Economic Development – Dan has been working on an exciting prospect. We also had a great PDAC with a potential new business.
Homelessness Shelter Committee – I have a meeting set up for next week with our faith based and business community to discuss how they can support the shelter operations. I’ve been working with Barb throughout the week on the site relocation plans.
Border Board Airport Grant – It is expected that the border board will meet on Monday to review the airport planning grant proposal. Keep your fingers crossed that we will receive the funding.
Construction on the taxi lane and hold apron is continuing in this nice weather. Dan showed the taxiway construction to a gentleman who is very interested in building hangars.
We are still waiting on replacement parts for the rotating beacon as it remains out of service.
Time is devoted each day to the construction phase of the Airport, working with engineers, electricians, and construction workers. Thursday was interesting as we looked for underground power lines for the FAA automated service observation system and the Boise weather station. We were successful.
We also held a PDAC meeting for the Experimental Aircraft Association construction as they are getting their building ready for TVCC’s flight school use.
Applications for the Airport Manager continue to come in. It looks like we have a very good pool.
This past week OPD recertified all four of OPD’s firearms instructors. OPD continues to focus on the development of personnel and tactical best practices.
Oct 27th-Chief Romero participated in an online Affordable Housing Seminar hosted by Northwest Housing Alternatives. Chief Romero assessed the impact the future population growth in Ontario may have on public safety services.
Oct 28th- Chief Romero was interviewed by the Malheur Enterprise (ME) to discuss crime statistics and trends in Ontario. Chief Romero shared some of his crime reduction strategies and anticipates an article.
Oct 28th- Chief Romero participated in an online Malheur County Community Mental health, Local Alcohol and Drug and development Disabilities Advisory Committee meeting. Strategies and updates were presented and discussed for responding to the mental health and drug addiction problems in the region.
Oct 29th- Chief Romero launched the Chief’s Advisory Council. The first session was attended by the (11) member council and some distinguished guest. The Chief shared that the group is diverse, professional and is focused on assisting him with a comprehensive solution-seeking process that will benefit the community and OPD well into the future.
OPD participated in a multi-agency narcotics enforcement initiative that resulted in an arrest of an Ontario area resident, seizure of a large amount of contraband, and a weapon. The case remains active and the Chief anticipates a joint Press Release will be shared with the public soon.
Oct 24th- OPD responded to a Domestic Violence call made by a minor. OPD contacted all parties involved and attempted to arrest the male suspect. The suspect fled on foot from officers but was captured after a brief foot pursuit and struggle.
Oct 27th-OPD responded to a traffic Hazard on SW 4th Ave near 12th Street. OPD located several Rail-Road ties in the roadway and removed the ties safely from the roadway.
Oct 30th- OPD participated in an outdoor “Trunk or Treat” event at the Four Rivers Cultural Center. The event was hosted by the Ontario Boys and Girls Club and utilized current COVID protocol and safety measures.
This week OPD code enforcement responded to a dog bite incident, numerous traffic complaints and ordinance violations.
Code enforcement officers continued to work with Chief Romero on a proposed dog kennel services RFP.
Code enforcement conducted follow up this week and was able to close 85 cases on Thursday 10/29. Code Enforcement still has a hefty follow up of over 90 cases.
Police was contacted last night regarding someone trespassing/living in a motorhome and stealing water from Beer Valley Brewing. Code Enforcement with the assistance of Patrol attempted contact today at the motorhome with no success. Code Enforcement sent out an abatement notice with the extensive violations at 932 SE 12th Avenue. Property owners will have 10 days to comply.
Code Enforcement conducted follow up on a property that previously was in disrepair and had multiple violations; location is now cleaned up and seeing progress. This shows the effectiveness of the Civil Penalty Process and current abatement process, to help make Ontario shine.
Thursday, 10/29, Code Enforcement towed 3 vehicles from the NW side of town that had previously been tagged with a (72) hour tow notice.
The following pictures are of a property that was abated by Code Enforcement, which led to redevelopment.
Street sweeping is on-going for the next few weeks. Jacobs will be coordinating with Ontario Sanitary Services to address fall lawn and leaf clean up needs as the transfer station is currently out of service. Crews spend time this week flushing end of line fire hydrants. More road repair work was completed on the Skyline Farm access road.
Jacobs is working with ACS to identify why there are repeated communication failures throughout the SCADA system. Jacobs staff is scheduled to prep the new location for the homeless shelter “Tiny Homes”.
River Pump #1 is still out of service, Priest Electric is performing repairs. A debris basket is being fabricated and installed on a temporary pump in case it is needed to support River Pump #2. Crews will be cleaning Recovery Bed #3.
The bio-solids removal contractor has begun dewatering biosolids from Lagoon #1. It’s a fascinating process. I took a drive to see what it looked like and it’s pretty amazing.
Because the biological balance in Lagoon #1 has been upset with the dewatering work, odors are becoming more noticeable. This condition can be expected to exist until the dewatering project is complete.
Staff collected monthly arsenic samples as requires by ODEQ.
Ozone air cleaners have been installed on all the City Hall HVAC systems. These ozone systems will provide a disinfecting effect for the air as it moves through the HVAC system and out into the habitable spaces.
The Community Development building is scheduled to be the next city owned building to the ozone system installed in the HVAC system.
Parks and Cemeteries
Winterizing of sprinkler systems is ongoing. Grass trimming at Evergreen Cemetery and Westside Cemetery is complete. The foundation for the columbarium at Evergreen Cemetery has been poured.
Staff have been working to remove the hanging plant baskets from the downtown light poles.
A pigeon exterminator has been contacted to present a solution for city buildings that are being challenged by the birds. It’s been a problem downtown too, so we will see if there is mutual application.
Jacobs is supporting the City with researching how herbicides are handled at the airport. Upgrades to the fiber communications systems at the airport are being planned.
Transportation System Plan – The technical advisory committee met to discuss the most recent update to the transportation system plan. We have many volunteer committee members that have gave their time very freely for this effort, and I really appreciate their time. You can add your input here.
COVID 19 – There will be testing events next week with no symptoms required.
Monday, October 12th COVID Testing Event in Nyssa
Wednesday, October 14th COVID Testing Event in Ontario
Planning – We held a PDAC for the property the multi-unit development is being built on that went very well. This is the same property which the council held the public comment for at the council meeting. We also had a follow up meeting with Jacobs to talk about the water and wastewater capacity at that location.
Grants – We met with our grant writing team in Washington DC. They feel they have enough information to begin discussions with the Economic Development Administration for funding to complete the SE 2nd Construction project from East Idaho to 16th. I spoke with several people about getting more letters of support.
PERS – The contribution levels came out today for the PERS. It’s not a great surprise because we had the estimates earlier this year. Tier 1 & 2 went from 32.82% to 35.65%. The OPSORP employees went from 22.60% to 26.32% and the Police and Fire Tier 1 & 2 went from 27.23% to 30.68%. This will be for the 21-22 fiscal year and the 22-23 fiscal year. That includes contributions to our side account.
Coronavirus Relief Funds – We have a lot of projects to get going on with the Coronavirus Relief Funds. We got underway with them today. I’ll be in contact with the senior center next week to see what we can do for them.
Monday began with a preconstruction meeting of all the partners regarding the continuous improvement project at the airport. A NOTAM was called for the construction as taxiway lights will be off during the time of construction.
The military jet that is on display at the airport was moved from the static display location to make room for construction. It was quite an ordeal moving an F-4 Phantom fighter jet.
Follow up sessions are being set with the fire marshal to review compliance reports made on each chemical applicator’s site on the field regarding safety and hazmat concerns.
Staff conducted the annual inspection of the Boys and Girls Club in Ontario. Chief virtually attended a PDAC on Wednesday for a 70-unit apartment, the Rural Board meeting on Thursday, and the OVFA Business meeting on Tuesday.
The Malheur County Burn ban will be lifted October 12.
This month staff will participate in the Ontario Smoke Detector Program. Citizens can call (541) 881-3216 to schedule appointments.
10/5 - Rescue-1 was paged to a fire alarm but was cancelled enroute. 10/6 - Rescue 1 responded to a “gas smell” on the 100 block SW 4th Avenue. After checking the area, a leaking propane tank was identified, the leak was stopped, and the scene was cleared.
Recruitments started for the positions of Police Officer (Entry/Lateral) and Airport Manager. These recruitments will run until 11/30/20 and 11/15/20 respectively.
Oct 5th- Chief Romero participated in the Malheur County local public safety coordinating council meeting. The council discussed a variety of regional crime concerns and methods for a collaborative response to the issues discussed. One key topic was a recent change in gun registration protocol. Local agencies will now assist with this process versus the Oregon State Police.
Oct 6th- Chief Romero authored staff reports and contracts for three contractors that will be assisting the City of Ontario with the nuisance abatement process. Two will serve as hearing officers and one will provide abatement services.
Oct 8th-Chief Romero attended an online demonstration for the I-Worq’s System being considered by the city for automation services of all the department’s forms and case management systems. Chief Romero feels the platform will serve the needs of the Ontario Police Department’s Code Enforcement Division.
October 9th-Chief Romero has made his final selection for an eleven (11) member Chief’s Advisory Council and will publicly announce his selection through the OPD Facebook on his October 2020 “Minute with the Chief” Commentary. The Chief reports that he received a diverse group of applicants and is excited to start working with this newly developed community governance team.
Oct 7th- This week OPD was able to attend a community policing event. OPD was joined by the Oregon State Police at the Brookdale Senior Living Center for a socially distanced drive thru “Coffee with a Cop” event. The event was hosted by Brookdale on this National Coffee with a Cop day. Great Community support expressed by the staff and residence of the Brookdale community.
Oct 7th- OPD shared in an outdoor “Pizza Party” event with the Ontario Boys and Girls Club. OPD provided pizza and candy to the kids and staff at the BGC to express their support for the staff, programs, and youth that attend the BGC. OPD looks to build strong bonds with our area youth to maintain ongoing and future mutual trust between the police and our community.
This week, OPD Code Enforcement worked on developing a temporary foster program for dogs, due to the current impasse between the city and local kennel service that the city had been doing business with. Kennel Services have been suspended due to COVID 19 and pending contract development.
CEO’s worked on 4 Nuisance abatement cases that will be forwarded for formal administrative hearings.
CEO monitored traffic conditions this week on SW 4th Avenue, via the OPD Speed Trailer.
Crews continue crack sealing activities. The handrail for the skate park restrooms is taking shape. Staff worked on improving the road to the Bench Reservoir.
The pilot test of the Titus Twister at the Malheur Lift Station has been discontinued due to visible fats, oils, and grease accumulating on the surface of Waste Treatment Lagoon.
The water treatment plant is running well, and the reservoirs are full. Staff continued cleaning drying beds. The water reservoir at SRCI had a pressure transducer fail and SRCI staff requested help from Jacobs to respond to the problem.
In preparation for the bio-solids removal project, Fruitland Electric was at Waste Treatment Thursday disconnecting electrical service to three of the four rows of floating aerators in Lagoon #1. This will allow for the rows of aerators to be moved to the east end of the lagoon, so they won’t interfere with the solid’s removal dredge.
Parks and Cemeteries
Crews are focused on mowing and trimming.
Staff participated in a preliminary PDAC for a 70-unit apartment complex. Staff also reviewed a request by Project Ruby about locating a production facility in Ontario as well as the Goodfellow and 5th Avenue improvements.
TSP Open House
The City of Ontario has developed a new online open house to gather public feedback on active transportation improvements and a new streetscape plan for East Idaho Avenue. Multiple biking and walking routes have been selected for improvements and a concept design has been developed or East Idaho Avenue, but we need to hear from you! Please take just a few minutes and visit the online open house (open until 10/9) and give us your feedback. Visit the open house here.
Chamber AV Upgrade – I received the third bid for the AV setup in the Council Chamber. I’ll bring a recommendation to Council for award on Thursday.
Branding Implementation – Peter has been working on implementation of our new brand. Final presentation is coming to Council on Thursday and then we will launch with your approval.
JOINT NEACT/SEACT – The two Eastern Area Commission on Transportation met on Thursday.
Airport Planning Application –We officially submitted the Airport Planning grant application this week.
Grants – Letters continue to come in from businesses for the EDA Grant. The mayor organized a meeting between him, President Dana Young, myself, and Andy Bentz to discuss the rangeland management program and possible grants.
Highway Lighting – I got another estimate for the lighting of the overpass. It was considerably lower. The most recent estimate I got was at about $30k which is what I was hoping for.
TVCC Aviation Program – I continued discussion with TVCC Administration about the Aviation program.
Another CDBG Funding – Euvalcree was awarded the CDBG grant that they will be administering for us for the micro-business enterprises. It is for $50,000.
The 105 acres of mowing at the airport was completed this week. This should help immensely with the problem of blowing weeds. It is also bringing in comments of how nice it looks.
Dan Beaubien and I attended the Airport Committee on Monday and discussed fueling procedures as well as other topics at the airport. An additional work session meeting will take place next Monday, October 12th to finalize a fueling solution.
Precision approach path indicator lights have been repaired and put back into service this week. Also, a runway light and two taxiway lights which were destroyed by an aircraft upon landing.
The BLM’s single engine air tanker planes and spotter plane left this week for the year. They went to Utah, Arizona, and Colorado.
Pre-meetings are happening this week and next for capital improvement projects at the airport. Groundbreaking should begin next week to build a taxiway and hold apron at the airport.
Staff inspected Treasure Valley Cannabis and a neighboring building on 10/1/20.
This month is Breast Cancer Awareness month. You will see our staff in pink to show our dedication and support.
9/28- Rescue-1 was contacted concerning a garbage can fire at Beck-Kiwanis Park. The reported can was extinguished as crews arrived. 9/29- Crews responded to a fire at a homeless camp. Crews also responded to an arcing light pole. When Rescue-1 responded, crews noted sagging wires. Idaho Power was contacted.
Sept 28th- Chief Romero talked with an Ontario Real Estate Association agent to discuss crime prevention strategies for Ontario’s multi-unit parcels. Chief Romero presented a program known as the “Crime Free Multi-Housing Program” that focuses on crime reduction strategies for multi-unit rental housing and subsidized housing. Recent crime incidents at local apartment buildings were the origin of this community concern.
Sept 29th-Chief Romero hosted the regional director from the Idaho-Oregon High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA) agency to discuss a future plan for funding and assisting Malheur County law enforcement agencies with combatting the illicit drug epidemic in the region.
Sept 29-Chief Romero attended a board meeting for the Ontario Boys and Girls Club. Chief Romero has been selected to serve as a co-chair for the BGC’s sustainability committee. Chief Romero hopes to increase the level of crime prevention education and youth activities offered at the BGC.
Sept 30- OPD conducted its second annual “Feed the Veterans” breakfast at the Ontario American Legion POST. Following social distancing protocols and care, OPD was able to feed about 20 area veterans and some OPD staff that dropped by to exchange mutual support for each-others service to our communities and country.
Sept 30-Chief Romero attended a community development planning meeting in the City of Baker. Chief Romero and other Ontario Civic group and business leaders were invited to serve as guest presenters and consultants for Baker City stakeholders and city officials. The topic presented was the launching of youth outreach programs and programs for serving the special needs and vulnerable population. Ontario has captured the attention of other areas for the great collaborative work that is taking place in the areas of outreach and community partnerships.
Oct 1- Chief Romero served as a guest speaker at the FRCC for Project Dove and spoke about OPD’s role and support in combatting the crime of Domestic Violence. Chief Romero provided educational tips on how the community can help reduce incidents of DV and how to effectively report DV to law enforcement agencies.
Chief Romero began review of applications for the newly formed Chief’s Advisory Council. He anticipates a 9-council member selection completed by October 9, 2020.
OPD activities remained steady but OPD is glad to report that there were no significant crimes or incidents this week. OPD’s proactive efforts focused on some drug related complaints and recent vandalism (graffiti) that popped up throughout various parts of the city. It is believed that the same suspect is responsible for the vandalism. OPD is following some promising leads for identifying the suspect.
CEO’s met with Chief Romero and the city’s contracted “Hearing Officer” to draft and finalize contracts for the city’s current hearing officer and a newly selected second hearing officer.
CEO conducted directed enforcement efforts in the southeast section of the city. Many of the contacts were follow-ups from previous warnings and notices as well as trying to identify chronic violators.
This week’s enforcement focus was on illegal parking, specifically non-functioning vehicles that are left on public roadways.
Crews spent the week crack sealing West Idaho Avenue.
A pilot test of the Titus Twister that began last week at the Malheur Lift Station has removed about 95% of the fats, oils, and grease from the wet well. However, those waste products appear to be moving downstream to the wastewater treatment plant and congealing on the surface of Lagoon #1. Staff will continue to monitor the performance and results throughout the pilot test period.
The water treatment plant is running well, and the reservoirs are full. Staff worked on cleaning out the drying beds. Sodium Hydroxide feed lines are being to break down. A solution is being pursued.
Arsenic sampling was performed at the wastewater treatment plant this week. Representatives of Synagro were on site Tuesday reviewing the scope of the bio solids removal work. They still intend to mobilize to Ontario the week of October 12th.
Parks and Cemeteries
A large new mower is back in service. Bids are being solicited for irrigation system upgrades at Evergreen Cemetery.
The second phase of the SE 2nd Street project is scheduled to wrap up this week and Phase III is scheduled to begin.
Staff are working with Oregon Department of Corrections to identify the amount and type of sulfate containing cleaning agents are being used at SRCI. Jacobs is recommending that using lower sulfate cleaners will reduce the amount of hydrogen sulfide being generated in the wastewater collection being received from SRCI. Hydrogen Sulfide is a prime suspect in objectionable odors emanating from the waste treatment plant as well as very corrosive the collections system infrastructure
The fires across the state have burned over 1.1 million acres. I’m just grateful that we haven’t had to deal with that in addition to COVID-19.
COVID – We got our phase 3 funding out for businesses. Please check our website and forward people who could use this funding to the website. The Small Business Development Administration is willing to help businesses with the paperwork. If it looks confusing, ask for help or apply and we will help them through the issues.
Cases are still high at over 100 new cases a week. Peter has been working with the county on messaging to the public. It sounds like a vaccine is close to being developed but there are mixed indications about when they will be done.
SRCI – We spent a lot of time building, refining, and discussing the financial model for the Rural Fire Department services with the city and SRCI. We accomplished proving that the number had to go up.
Laxson Park – The walking trail at Laxson park was paved this week. It looks really nice. I drove by last night and saw an elderly couple walking on it holding hands. I tried to get a picture, but they broke off and went to their home. Here’s a shot of the new trail though. This was made possible by our park match program.
ICMA Conference – Next week is the ICMA Conference, which will be virtual. This means that I will be in conference sessions Wednesday through Friday.
Airport Planning Grant - I spent some time working on the airport planning grant for the border board.
Homelessness – Several members of Council have expressed concern about the homeless in our community. I am participating in a workshop about case law and solutions for homeless persons in the community. The first session was primarily the legal framework, the session next week will be on solutions.
Grant Writing - I met with Merchant McIntyre twice this week to work on grant applications. Engineering is putting together their part and I have to contact some businesses to get letters of support for job retention and expansion.
Downtown Scaping - We met with Andrews Seed to talk about the trial planting in one of the bulb-outs. We are going to see if the plantings can survive with the water schedule we are currently on. We don’t want to do the whole downtown without knowing if it’s going to work. Public Works staff met with us and we talked about the care for the planters that should help us next year.
Leadership Team – Our staff leadership team met this week and focused on two things. First was which service provider we would use for automation of services online. We have come to a decision and will be bringing that to Council on October 8. The second item was to work on the Coronavirus Relief Fund Budget that was presented to council on Tuesday. To prepare for that, I spent time communicating with our other community organizations to address their needs. We will need to be flexible if we see certain activities are not being funded and other needs appear more important.
Sept 16th- Chief Romero attended the Special Olympics Law Enforcement Torch Run Charity Golf Tournament planning meeting. Chief Romero would like to invite community members to come out to the Scotch Pines Golf Course in Payette, Idaho for a community building, social distanced designed event. The event is Saturday October 3rd, 2020, with registration beginning at 7:30 am. Flyer will be posted on OPD Facebook.
Sept 16th- Chief Romero conducted a safety inspection and walk thru of the Ontario and Payette Boys and Girls Club houses at the request of the BGC CEO and staff. The inspection is part of the Chief’s plan to assist local businesses with the creation of safer working environments through the concept of Crime Prevention through Environmental Design (CPTED).
Sept 17th- Chief Romero began a comprehensive review of the department’s current use of force policy and practices in order to assess its applicability with the recently proposed “8 can’t wait” national campaign for police use of force policies and practices. Chief Romero is determined to have the best trained (most modern) and proficient (skilled) police agency in the state, in the area of use of force.
Sept 18th- Chief Romero met with Snake River Correctional Institution Superintendent Brad Cain to discuss the current state of prison operations and professional partnership opportunities between the two agencies.
It was a very busy week for the OPD team.
Sept 14th- OPD assisted the fire department with evacuation efforts at the scene of a residential fire in the 900 block of NW 4th Ave.
Sept 15th- OPD assisted the fire department with a suspected arson case near the bottle drop center on NE Goodfellow St. Two shopping carts and their contents were lit on fire but no damage was reported to any nearby structures. Case is under investigation.
Sept 15th- OPD responded to a shots fired call in the 100 block of NE 3rd St. An adult suspect was identified and arrested for shooting at several victims. All parties are believed to be associates and no threat to general public was identified.
Sept 17th- OPD responded to 2 different calls for individuals exhibiting mental illness and very bizarre behavior. Both incident the individuals posed a threat to the community and in one incident a threat to officers as well. Both were forcefully detained and taken to the hospital for emergency psychiatric care. Incidents involving drug addicted, mentally ill, individuals remain steady within the city limits.
Sept 17th-OPD provided an agency assist to the Malheur County Sheriff’s Office regarding a shots fired call just outside the city limits. OPD officers located the suspect as he fled the area and made the arrest of the suspect. OPD assisted MCSO with putting all the pieces together for the investigation and expect to file charges against the involved parties. Case continues to develop.
Code enforcement officer Brockett spent the week preparing for abatement administrative reviews and proceedings. OPD is looking to procure a second administrative hearing officer to add to the efficiency of the process.
CEO assisted with caring for two dogs-at-large and assisted OPD officers with several vagrancy related calls this week.
Audio Visual - We had another bidder come look at the Council Chambers for the AV upgrade. I’m expecting a bid from them soon.
SRCI & Protection District – I spent a good amount of the time working with the State’s economist on a financial forecast. We spent Wednesday in mediation. We met again on Friday and the state said they want to work with me on the cost model.
I will be working with the state hired economist over the next week and we will be back in mediation on Friday.
LOCAL Boots on the Ground – Our local recovery team met and continued to talk about helping our businesses.
9/11 - We had a very nice service for 9/11 working with the American Legion. The Legion presented a very nice flag to the City for first responders.
After an inspection of the airport following the high winds Monday, only one hangar had minor damage and no aircraft were damaged.
Two meetings have been set up for next week to discuss fueling regulations at the airport and chemical applicator practices. Bringing both sides together to look for a solution should bring about a best practice for the city’s airport to follow in the future.
Positive comments were made by those who used the grass runway over the weekend.
Two additional SEAT firefighting planes came in from South Dakota today to help battle wildfires.
Fire & Rescue
This week seemed like one big meeting. Due to the fires in our state the Oregon State Fire Marshal hosted meetings every day that Chief Leighton participated in as the Fire Defense Board Chief for Malheur County. There were also mediation meetings and conference calls with the financial advisors for the state in dealing with the contract for SRCI. The Rural Fire District board also had a meeting that staff attended.
The staff was supposed to have our annual fire department family BBQ but due to Covid-19 guidelines, we cancelled the event and then held our circuit drills we have been having for the past few months.
This was a busy week for our staff. We had a few illegal burns and multiple grass fires. 9/6 Rescue 1 responded to a carbon monoxide alarm and monitored for elevated levels but did not find any. The staff also responded to a house fire in New Plymouth and assisted with salvage and overhaul. The crew also responded to a grass fire on I-84. 9/7 The windstorm we had caused some downed power lines and a large fire incident we aided Parma Fire on. 9/8 Rescue 1 responded to a truck hauling hay on I-84 where the bales caught on fire. The crews have responded Tuesday and Wednesday to fight wildland fires and provide structure protection at the large fire north of Cambridge ID. 9/10 157, the rural brush engine responded to mutual aid for Vale Fire for a grass fire.
Aug 31st-Chief Romero developed a new Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) for OPD’s “Major Crime Team” response procedures. The purpose of the SOP is to develop an effective and efficient multi-agency response plan for major crime incidents. OPD has a history of working well with the local area law enforcement agencies.
Sept 9th- Chief Romero coordinated a promotional video for the Special Olympics Law Enforcement Torch Run for Idaho-eastern Oregon. The video promotion included representatives from Idaho State Police, Oregon State Police, Ontario Police, Malheur County Sheriff’s Office, and the Malheur County District Attorney’s Office. Local law enforcement pledged full support for our areas special Olympians. Great partnership by all that participated.
Sept 1st- OPD responded to St. Alphonsus Hospital regarding an individual who was bloody and creating a disturbance inside the facility. The subject turned out to be an adult with mental illness who had forcefully removed an IV from his arm. Medical staff was able to care for the individual after he was spoken to and persuaded to continue his medical treatment.
Sept 4th- OPD pursued a vehicle that eventually crashed near the airport. After a brief foot pursuit through the shooting range, two suspects were apprehended. The two suspects were arrested for outstanding warrants and were found to be in possession of AR-15 ammunition. Vehicle is suspected of transporting illicit drugs as well.
Sept 6th-OPD responded to a shooting at the Motel 6. OPD contacted a shooting victim who was not cooperative and was suspected of illegal activity. This incident is an active investigation. No arrests have been made as of this date.
Sept 11th-OPD responded to the Best Western Hotel regarding a female who was damaging a room and causing a disturbance. The female was determined to have mental illness and was transported to the hospital for emergency psychiatric care. The female remained hostile towards medical staff at the hospital but was treated without incident.
Sept 11th-OPD responded to a call of a male in the roadway on West Idaho Avenue and 5th Street. The male was attempting to stop vehicles and grab items from passing vehicles. The subject was contacted by OPD and was arrested without incident. The subject was armed with a pocket- knife in his hand at the time of his arrest and was believed to be under the influence of drugs.
This week Chief Romero filled in due to both code enforcement officers being away for vacation and family leave time. Chief Romero met with various property owners to discuss abatement actions and equitable resolutions.
Staff are working on vegetation control on City property.
Crews have finished building the storage area for bio-solids at Skyline Farms. They have also improved the haul road on the south and east side of the property and laid gravel for a “track-out” zone to keep empty haul trucks from tracking bio-solids down the road.
Potholes on NE 4th Street and East Idaho Avenue have been filled with patch material, however, ODOT has responsibility for maintaining this section of road.
Staff have been working on the “put-in” trailhead for the Malheur River Water Trail.
The open section of the Dorian Ditch along the east side of NW 22nd Street was backing up. Crews found that debris had blown into the ditch with the high winds earlier in the week. Once they cleared the debris, the ditch began flowing. This is an ongoing challenge to stay on top of.
#2 Booster Pump at Westside Reservoir is still down. The vendor supplying repair parts does not have an estimated time when parts will be onsite. There is one final chemical pump due for routine annual maintenance. The clarifier maintenance for last week and this week is finished. Nothing out of the ordinary was encountered.
The wooded area around the water treatment area doesn’t appear to have unauthorized camping. A couple of the “No Trespassing” signs have been vandalized, but not to the point where they became illegible.
Control panels on the pivots at Skyline are failing. We will be requesting a proposal from the vendor who supplied the control panels for the Malheur Farm pivots to update the Skyline panels. Skyline pivots 4, 5 and 6 are now fallow and ready for bio-solids application. It is estimated that Skyline pivots 1, 2 and 3 will be fallow by October 15th.
Staff are working with Christine Kelly of Oregon State University to begin sampling waste treatment plant influent for COVID-19. Christine is a professor of bioengineering at OSU and will be performing and collating all the test data. Jacobs staff will be collecting samples and sending them to Christine for analysis.
Parks and Cemeteries
The new walking path at Laxson Park is scheduled to be paved this week.
Final inspection and commissioning for the pH project is scheduled for this Friday.
The City Council has awarded the bio-solids removal contract to Synagro. Synagro is planning to mobilize to Ontario the week of September 21st.
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.