No council meeting next week
We have no items for a second meeting, so no meeting on Tuesday night. Next one will be on March 5.
We heard word back from Salem that our marijuana bill will likely not be taken up this year. Senator Findley warned us about this since the Cap and Trade dominated so much of the session.
I met with Eddie Thiel to talk about the next forum which will be on April 29. We came up with three items to present.
We want to show the public that all of the things we are doing are part of the downtown plan that was revised and readopted in 2016. I think that may get lost in translation as we do little pieces each year, but they are really all connected and part of a grander vision.
What’s in the Budget
By the time of this forum the budget should be adopted and I’m thinking that one of you could present what was funded for 2020-2021.
I thought this would be a good educational opportunity to talk about responsible dog ownership and property care.
Met last Monday night. It was a very difficult issue that may come before you if the Old Owyhee Irrigation District appeals the decision. The decision was whether to cover the irrigation ditch at Warrington’s subdivision. If I understand it correctly, if the city makes Warrington cover up the ditch behind the subdivision by Sunset, then the City has to take on maintenance of the ditch. So, the planning commission decided to not require Warrington to cover it. None of the other properties around it have covered their portion.
Public Works Committee
The committee met last Tuesday and reviewed the capital projects plan for the upcoming year. They spent 1 ½ hours going over the projects. Staff took feedback on the projects.
The City Engineer and Public Works Director reviewed projects with me last week. I’ve made it a point to track all the projects so that we can be accountable to the budget committee.
We spent a lot of time working on the budget and the capital improvement program. Our leadership team met last Wednesday to prioritize each request using the city council’s strategic plan. Kari and Peter have done a great job pulling together everything. We are on target for getting our budget to the budget committee, next Tuesday, two weeks prior to committee meetings.
Downtown Repaving Project
Peter and I walked downtown from 4th to Idaho and back handing out fliers to businesses for the upcoming information session next Thursday. It was a good opportunity to connect with businesses. The sessions are at 9 AM at Pro-Soul Games and 5:30 PM at Veteran Advocates of Ore-Ida. We will present the project to businesses and then listen to questions, concerns, requests, and anything else our businesses want to talk about.
The housing forum went well. I believe there was about 80 to 100 people there. It feels like there is momentum building in the community to do something, but it’s hard to tell if those 100 people represent the community. I need to know if you get the same feeling to help determine if that’s the case.
Energy Savings Project
We have a date to sit down with Ameresco. It looks like they have found some savings for us.
Transitional Shelter – Two buildings showed up last Wednesday. Six more are scheduled for delivery next week. We put up lights for Nichols on our side of the property line to light up their parking lot. Bob Kemble sent me a thank you note. I think they may become operational after the next five are delivered.
The Malheur County United Housing Taskforce met again today.
Japanese Consul Visit – We were honored to have the visit from the Japanese Consul. He is on his way out. A new one will be coming for the states of Oregon and Idaho. As they are well known for, he was extremely gracious, pleasant, and kind to be with.
Airport / BLM Project – We had our conference call with the BLM Wednesday and they really want us to push it to the southeast side. I think that’s our best route at this point. That will help that side build out faster which means the other side will get developed sooner. We are working on an application for the planning grant from Border Board and with Business Oregon. I believe the $2.5 million will probably just cover the asphalt. We can finance the building through business Oregon or through a private developer.
STF/STIF – Our committee met on Thursday (STF and STIF). These two committees review the mass transit funding coming to our community. Malheur Council on Aging has ordered four more vehicles and is extending hours of bus service with new funding. Our local funding leverages a great deal of Federal funding, so obviously it’s very important for them.
Urban Fishery – Councilor Crume put staff in touch with someone from Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife about working with us at Beck Park to create a better Urban Fishery. This has been something Cliff Leeper has been passionate about so I asked him to follow through on it. Cliff made contact today and they assured him there was funding opportunities to help with stocking the pond and maybe docks for fishing. We are scheduling a meeting in the next two weeks. Very exciting. This aligns with your Strategic Plan.
Community & Economic Development
Staff is reviewing 9 building applications this week and has issued 7 building permits this past week.
TVCC started the foundation for their Career and Technical Education Center, their new 12,000 square foot building and we have started inspections for the project.
The Planning Department is staying extremely busy finishing up the planning action from last year and we have already received 9 land use actions this year.
Dan continues work on amending the Ontario Flood Plain Code (10A-47) to meet the new Oregon Model Code and federal regulations (FEMA) and will be bring the changes to the planning commission and Council soon.
Staff is working on a new Project called Project VET Housing and the solar farm lease on the Stelling property that the Council previously approved.
Chief Romero conducted a fraud prevention and education seminar for the elderly population at the Brookdale Senior Living Center in Ontario. Chief Romero’s presentation provided information on how to and where to report elder abuse (physical, mental, and financial); as well as how to identify the top 10 most common fraud scams used to victimize the senior population.
Chief Romero met with area law enforcement leaders and supervisors to discuss the police reporting system infrastructure and a multi-agency enforcement operation plan as a strategy to impact the rate of property crimes throughout the city and county. A tentative plan and date have been set with OPD hosting the crime impact efforts.
Chief Romero attended the Eastern Oregon-Idaho Special Olympics Law Enforcement Torch Run planning session in Caldwell, ID. OPD has been solicited to be a participant in the upcoming Special Olympics LE Torch Run, which will be held in Caldwell, Idaho this June 2020. Tentatively, OPD will do the symbolic torch run in Ontario. Details are still developing.
Chief Romero spent several days in the field assessing traffic related concerns (speeding, parking near high school, traffic collision prone areas, and onion slurry) in order to develop a long-term response plan for OPD, in the absence of a designated traffic enforcement officer, detail, or unit.
This week, OPD investigated numerous traffic collisions and the usual garden variety of calls for service.
OPD had a foot pursuit and arrested a felony warrant suspect that had been sought for some time.
OPD investigated an incident at Beck-Kiwanis Park, where a male who was walking his dog brandished a handgun after a dog (not on a leash) approached him and his leashed dog. The non-leashed dog owner filed a report with OPD about the gun being publicly brandished. The case is under investigation. The paper reported on this in addition to our cameras. Now the cameras are a good idea!
OPD is currently engaged in several high priority Grand Jury Trials that resulted from cases from 2019 and prior.
Our Code Enforcement Officers continue to respond to a high number of dogs “Running-At-Large” calls but where able to issue various new property abatement notices this week.
Chronic location (672 NW 2nd Street). Extreme levels of trash, debris and abandoned personal property. Property is a bank owned repossession. CEO’s will be reaching out to the bank’s Loss Mitigation Department and property management in hopes of having the property cleaned up soon.
Fire & Rescue
The Deputy State Fire Marshal, building official, and Chief toured a well-designed and approved marijuana production facility, from new plants all the way through the retail portion. Chief met with a property owner that is installing some modular homes on access issues and other fire requirements.
The staff did training with the thermal image camera, and interior hose pulls at the training house on NW. 11th St. Some of the staff practiced forcible entry, ropes, and knots.
Both city and rural apparatus responded to a mutual aid request on the Oregon Slope from Payette Rural Fire Department for a fully involved residential fire. Rescue 1 responded to a controlled illegal burn along I-84 at a homeless camp. The crew responded to alarms for smoke detector and carbon monoxide activations. Both incidents were equipment issues.
The tree project continues East Idaho. Trees have been delivered and are slated for planting early this spring. A total of 32 trees will be planted both on East Idaho Avenue and other locations through the City.
Light poles which were installed at the old city shop site to help light up Nichols Parking Lot close to the shelter were energized with new lights earlier this week. This has made a significant difference. Big kudos to Public Works for getting it done so quickly.
Well 15 was taken offline. The well will be videoed. It may have to be taken offline and rehabbed. This well provided 2.5 million gallons a day when well systems are being used so it is imperative this be addressed and repaired as soon as practical.
A new regional maintenance staff member will be based out the Ontario location and will provide greater depth and quicker turn around for heavy maintenance projects.
The wastewater system is operating well. Weekly inspections of the equipment and buildings including maintenance and troubleshooting took place. NPDES permit sampling continues as per DEQ requirements. Tier I samples are being collected as well as required copper samples.
The new contract farmer met with city staff to go over farm operations on both the Malheur and Skyline properties. A tour of both areas was completed.
Parks and Cemetery
We are working with the new surveillance camera system installer to help in the installation process. This process is almost fully completed.
Trees at Evergreen Park are being pruned this week.
Staff will be inspecting and replacing swing set bolts throughout parks system. This is done annually and is a task set up on computerized maintenance system. Additional bolts had to be ordered and have arrived and will be changed out this week.
Newer more decorative trash cans were installed at Lions Park thanks to Jacobs. We would like to switch all of our cans to these more attractive receptacles. The new ones are the dark ones in the picture below. They match the ones downtown. We want to get rid of the can on a pole.
The hot water tank at city hall continues to have issues. A new tank has been ordered and will be installed when it arrives.
Work on the Water Master Plan and preparation for budget meetings continue. We have 90% construction docs for both the skate park bathroom and the downtown project.
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.