Wow, it has been a super busy week. Three night meetings this week and a lot of stuff during the day, but we have gotten some really good feedback and participation.
Citizens Coalition of Ontario, - Eddie Thiel has asked the Mayor and I to do a Facebook Live session on Wednesday to talk about the good things the city is doing and trying to keep moving forward in spite of COVID-19.
Open Gov – Our intern has been catching us up on OpenGov, our citizen information portal. It’s been super helpful.
Planning Commission - The planning commission took action on a rezoning on SW 4th and 12th Street on Monday night.
Revitalize Ontario – The metal box wrap art is really incredible. It was very exciting to see the results. They are moving towards production. They also really liked the wayfinding system. They were very excited about all of the things happening downtown.
Downtown – Striping was finished downtown this week. There are still some furniture pieces to be installed downtown such as more trash receptacles, benches, and bike racks, but it’s really looking sharp.
Parks Committee – The inaugural Parks Committee was kicked off last Thursday. Tori, our City Recorder, was super helpful preparing for the meeting. There are some really engaged people on that committee that are really excited to be ambassadors for the city. I was personally thrilled with the group and their excitement to serve. They were really impressed with all of the projects the city is working on, and they said they would help us get the word out.
Wayfinding – Trademark is working back and forth with iterations of the mosaics. It’s positive communication between them and Black Lives Matter Ontario.
COVID19 - Cases are spiraling to a dangerous level. As of a conversation we had on Wednesday with the County Health Department, there have been 5 deaths from COVID-19 patients in Malheur County.
Testing over the last week returned about 25% positive results. You can see the most recent County Data at this website. There was a batch of testing that took two weeks to get results and so the County is not using them anymore. The state lab allowed them to submit testing through their facility and said they could turn them around in 3 days.
The City Incident Command System met on Tuesday. We have staff back but felt it was important to keep the front desk closed to protect our first responders and the public. Residents are making payments online and through the drop box.
Baker County is now on the state watchlist too.
Marijuana Revenue – We met with Representative Mark Owens on Monday about the two marijuana issues. First being the distribution formula and second the additional tax. After talking with the speaker of the house, he does not believe either issue can be addressed before the next general session. The Republicans are at the mercy of the Democrats and nothing will be done without their blessing. We are sending so much money over to the Willamette Valley, so why would they want to change things?
Bureau of Land Management SEAT-base Location – I had a conversation that Kathleen Cathy from Senator Wyden’s office organized with the Bureau of Land Management. She is helping us coordinate with them and the FAA about the location of the airbase. She is getting help from her FAA liaison.
Ameresco – We are a little bit behind schedule with the ESCO study, but this is understandable with all of the COVID-19 delays we have experienced. We had an update with Ameresco and Public Works and we have a plan to wrap up the energy audit.
Tater Tots Trail (Snake River Trail) – We had a very promising meeting coordinated by the governor’s regional solutions coordinator with the State Department of Lands (SDL) and Oregon Parks and Recreation Department (OPRD) about the trail. They will be doing some research to see what permission they need from the State and what steps we need to take to have full access.
Kochia weeds around the airport were sprayed. It’s a continual process to keep them out of the cracks of the hard surfaces as they do so much damage.
The Airport Manager met with the Bureau of Land Management and Idaho Power to see what needs to be done at the Ontario tanker base in order for the COVID-19 requirements to be met with regard to pilots who may be quarantined.
Time was also spent this week collaborating with the Federal Aviation Administration while making procedures in keeping our airport safe.
We received word this week that our CARES Act paperwork is complete, and the money will soon be on its way to Ontario Municipal Airport.
The huge task of compiling accurate lease information is almost complete. The big push to complete a workable list before the next billing cycle for the upcoming year has been accomplished!
Fire & Rescue
7/13 Chief had a meeting for fire protection at SRCI. 7/14 Veronica and Chief participated in the city COVID-19 ICS meeting. 7/15 Staff met with a contractor and development staff for a PDAC for a project on North Oregon Street. 7/16 Busy day of meetings, Chief participated in the Malheur County COVID-19 Task force update, Rural Fire protection district, and Snake River Fire Chiefs meetings.
Our training is taking place in circuit stations to practice safe distancing guidelines. We did wildland fire shelter deployment and water rescue drills.
7/11 The crew responded to a dumpster fire on SE 3rd Street. 7/12 Multiple agencies spent many hours on a grass fire that started on I-84 MP 370 and spread to the west burning close to 100 acres. This was an incident where our new side by side UTV came in very handy. 7/13 We responded to Mutual Aid Vale BLM for a grass/tree fire that was on Bureau of Reclamation land by the Butte and Siphon. 7/16 The crew responded to a tree limb fire along the railroad spur between Alameda and SW 18th Avenue and a smoke scare by Wingers Restaurant on SE 1st Avenue.
July 13- Chief Romero completed state mandated FEMA certification. Chief Romero intends to provide ICS training to OPD staff and extend the training to community members as well in the future.
July 14th- Chief Romero participated in two safety meetings (City’s ICS & Area law enforcement) to prepare for the July 15th state COVID mandates.
July 16th- Chief Romero issued a press release regarding an animal abuse case (PR 20-07-001). The press release was followed with a public service announcement (video) that was produced by OPD and published on OPD’s Facebook platform. The video received very positive reviews from the community-at-large.
July 16th- Chief Romero completed the initial phase (written program guidelines and application development) for the development of OPD’s Chief’s Advisory Council Initiative. Chief Romero anticipates having an advisory council seated by October 2020. The advisory council will provide the Chief with information and feedback and will work directly with the Chief to further the goals and initiatives of the Ontario Police Department and to build unconditional trust between the Police Department and community-at-large.
July 13th-OPD responded to the old mall on SW 4th Avenue to a call of a subject that had fallen off the roof. It was determined that a minor had trespassed on the roof and accidentally fell off the building and suffered significant injuries. The minor was transported to a Boise area hospital to be treated. Property owners have been informed of the incident and requested to evaluate the property for safety precautions.
July 17th- Chief Romero patrolled and evaluated downtown and commercial areas throughout the city in anticipation of creating and launching Ontario’s first Business Watch Program. Chief Romero hopes to have the initial planning meeting by mid to late August 2020.
July 13th-17th- This week, code enforcement officers focused heavily on property abatement. CEO’s conducted a civil penalties compliance audit of their 278 open cases. Just this week alone, CEO’s issued 68 civil penalties to non-compliant property owners.
July 13th-17th- CEO’s responded to several animal abuse incidents and to a vicious badger.
The Public Works office is closed to public and non-essential employee access.
The South Oregon project is in the final stage of completion. The planter bulb-outs are the only large item left to complete. As work crews have time, they will be placing weed barrier and gravel chips in the bulb-outs. The planting of vegetation will occur later in the summer.
Crews have been working to control ground cover growth along East Idaho Ave.
With Well #6 now online, all production wells are in service. East Side Booster Pump #3 may have a failed bearing in the motor. The unit is offline for removal and rehab.
Snake River flow is dropping, and the amount of debris is dropping as well. Operators are jar testing to ensure proper chemical use in the water treatment process.
Crews have been servicing aerators, mowing weeds, and managing water levels at Skyline reservoir. ODEQ has given approval to the bio-solids management plan.
Parks and Cemeteries
Due to COVID-19, tasks are being re-prioritized. Work crews are dedicated to performing the highest-level tasks, while lower level tasks are being worked on as time permits.
Due to the impact of COVID-19, facilities are still limiting public access.
Skate Park restroom work has resumed.
The pH adjustment project at Waste Treatment is moving forward. The contractor has ordered materials and anticipates beginning work in the next 10 days of so.
The Beck Park Bridge repair will begin as soon as Jacobs has labor available.
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.