Council Work Session is on Thursday, June 4.
Water Credit for Businesses Closed by COVID-19 – In creating the utility bill forgiveness resolution, I’m tossing a few different options trying to think about what would help most and what you would like to see. The executive order took effect on March 24 and went through May 15. Our billing cycles aligned pretty close to that beginning on the 24th of March and the second would go through May 21st. I’m thinking those two months are a pretty clean way to go rather than try to prorate it, which would only be the difference of a few days. If you wanted to make it three billing cycles, I believe we could handle it. Things may have to be pushed out in the out year, but we can handle it in the current year.
Citizens Coalition of Ontario - I participated in the third consecutive Friday night meeting with the Citizens Coalition of Ontario. Freddy is doing a great job of leading those live Facebook sessions with David Armstrong as the tech wizard behind the curtain. You can re-watch them on Facebook at any time.
South Oregon Street Project - I spent a lot of time downtown working with business owners, our Public Works Staff, and the contractor directly. The work is moving fast, and we are trying to do everything we can to ease the burden on businesses. Work was shifted to the first two blocks south of Idaho last Friday. They expect that to finish that within two weeks as they did the first two sections.
Economic Development – The mayor and I met with Greg Smith last week and we have another meetings scheduled for tomorrow. We talked very generally about the COVID response grant writer we hired. We spoke about all of the projects for our long-term capital funding.
Golf Course Clubhouse Lease – I met with Shadow Butte Enterprises owners. We went over some billing issues and the land lease. I am preparing a staff report to reduce the acres of property they are leasing from us since their plans for greenhouses have changed. They no longer want to do that so they would like to reduce their footprint. They will not be reducing the monthly lease though except to eliminate the annual well maintenance fee since they will not be using it.
Cameras – The municipal court is considering joining our camera system, which is exactly how we hoped it would work. Lt. Cooper is discussing it with them.
COVID-19 – Cases have gone up around the state and the County during Phase I, but it is still at an acceptable growth rate. In fact, it is probably more desirable to have a faster growth rate that can move us toward herd immunity, but at a pace in which our health care system can handle care.
Phase II - We expect to be one of the county’s that will move to Phase II on Friday. The County is on the ball and ready to respond to the letter required by the state. Way to go Malheur County Team!
Our Eastern Oregon Recovery Team met on Wednesday and they asked for feedback on the Phase II strategy which will happen on Friday. I made several comments and questions specific to our community to help with the Phase II reopening. Particularly with helping businesses increase serving capacity. We discussed indoor activities, venues, youth sports, overnight camps, modifications to restaurant guidance, pools, tennis, and zoos, outdoor gardens, and museums. They hope to increase the amount of mass gatherings than the previous target of 50 for Phase II.
Boots on the Ground – Our Boots on the Ground Team met Thursday morning to talk about Ontario issues. Greg’s new local staff Ryan, has joined us now, which is nice to have participation from the County. I missed most of the meeting, because I was at the dentist, but the work of a strong team is not impacted by the absence of one.
League of Oregon Cities – the weekly conference call with the LOC went well. They had worked out some of the recommendations coming out of the regional work groups (my Wednesday meeting).
City Incident Command – The City Incident Command met Tuesday. The Safety Team has finalized procedures to open city hall back up with Phase II (Monday most likely).
Water Trail - We met with a wetland’s expert from Jacobs, out of their Boise office to look at the drop-in and get-out site for the water trail. Freddy asked if he could go out with me, so he joined me. He said he was getting a lot of questions about it and wanted to understand it firsthand. If anybody else would like to see it, let me know. Peter is compiling several videos I shot and Freddy shot to post on our website about the project. From being out there, I realize this will be a little more than I planned. I’m hopeful we will still be able to do it in our budget.
Food Distribution – A lot of staff helped out with the food distribution by DHS at Beck Park, including the Mayor.
Tennis Courts – I would like to discuss taking money from the Beck bathroom park to put into the tennis courts so we can finish them. Especially given the offer from Four Rivers Community School to help with a donation. It’s best to jump on it now.
State Grant Match – We were awarded the state match grant for $65,000. It will go fast. We expect to be able to take applications by Wednesday. We did not get as much as we asked for, but we can apply for more in the third round of funding.
Dog Park Additions – We will be adding the trash receptacle, mutt-mitts, and signage to the Lion’s Dog Park, now that the parks are open. Playgrounds are still not open, but people are able to use the rest of the park while maintaining social distancing.
Streaming Issues – We met as a team to discuss the streaming issues. We have made some more adjustments and will see if they are resolved this week. One of the issues was a bad wire that caused the static. We may want to start looking at a more integrated approach down the road. We have been doing this trying to use very low-cost adjustments and piecing things together.
Transitional Housing –Dan hosted a PDAC for one of the options for transitional housing. Community in Action is trying to vet out the potential of each site. We will be trying to set up a community feedback meeting within the next two weeks.
Virtual Open Houses- The City of Ontario is preparing an active transportation plan to improve walking, biking, and riding transit based on community feedback and current data. We will be seeking feedback on how systems could improve for walking, biking, and accessing public transportation. Online open houses are available from May 29 to June 12 at the following URL: http://workshops.kaiproject.com/workshops/58-city-of-ontario-active-transportation-update/rooms/337-provide-your-comments
In conjunction with our active transportation plan, The City of Ontario is also preparing a plan for improving the streetscape and travel by all modes on East Idaho Avenue between I-84 and the Snake River. Both plans will be based on community input and current data. We hope you will join us in improving our City! Online open houses are available from May 29 to June 12 at the following URL: http://workshops.kaiproject.com/workshops/59-city-of-ontario-east-idaho-avenue-refinement-area-plan
Finance – Kari will be conducting a forecast to make sure we will end in the black despite COVID-19 impacts.
Much of the week was spent mowing, cleaning weeds, troubleshooting automated gates, and repairing wheel lines. Collecting accurate records on leases has also taken some time.
We had six bids come in for the FAA funded taxiway and hold apron project that will begin this fall. The bid opening was Thursday at 3 PM with Toby Epler, Dan Beaubien and I were present in addition to the contractors. A bid appeared to come in within budget. The Engineer will be looking at responsiveness before an award recommendation is done.
Hanger owners have been reluctant to support the upcoming hanger inspections; however, they seem to be coming around to the fact that it’s required and necessary to meet FAA guidelines. As side conversations continue, hangar owners are realizing that having fire extinguishers in each hanger is a good thing. Especially the hanger next to theirs.
COVID-19 has altered much of what we do. Our May Airport Committee meeting was canceled at the last minute due to open meeting laws not being met. June’s meeting should have a full agenda with much discussion as we continue to move forward with the airport.
Community & Economic Development
The office is still closed to the general public and staff is handling most outside communication by phone and conference calls, trying to maintain minimal outside contact with citizens during this Covid-19 shut down. Due to the new protective glass installed along the counter top; however, we have been able to allow a few customers (one at a time) to access of front lobby on a limited basis.
Staff is reviewing 11 building applications this week and has issued 3 building permits this past week. Review time has extended a little bit due to limited office time with customers.
The Planning department is keeping extremely busy and continues to work on the 20 new land use actions and has been dealing with a couple of Marijuana sign issues as follows:
Over the weekend Dan noticed a large PVC pipe on top of the small building that used to be a coffee shop and a fast food drive-up that is now being used by Burnt River Farms Dispensary as an authorized curb side Pickup facility.
We also received several emails and phone calls regarding it. After researching our codes we contacted the owners and informed them that they needed to get a structural permit for what we are calling a sign and informed them that even though we could not find a code violation for this type of advertising within our codes, in our opinion it takes away from the nice look they did with the design of their facility. They are still wanting to keep it and they are having the engineering done that will be required to be submitted for the structural building permit.
I also called OLCC and discussed the sign/image with them and they could not find where it violated any state code but they are also going to call the owners to discuss it.
There is another issue with regard to marijuana advertising. See the attached correspondence I asked Dan to put together for you explaining the issue.
This week, Chief Romero participated in the East Idaho Refinement Plan meeting. The Chief paid close attention to potential traffic impact concerns that any future activities with this project could create. Chief Romero is currently addressing a traffic concern (unrelated to this project plan) on East Idaho Avenue just west of the I-84 bridge.
May 27th- Chief Romero worked with HR Director Peter Hall on OPD website updates and information adjustment. The updates provide another layer for the public to be able to contact key personnel at OPD for reporting crimes or following up on pending cases.
Chief Romero, as a board member of the TV Boys and Girls Club has been working with the Club to ensure they have a safe and appropriate club re-opening on June 1, 2020. The service numbers will be much smaller than prior to the COVID-19 pandemic. They have met all required state and local mandates for their re-opening.
May 27th- OPD assisted at the OHS senior graduation ceremony held by the school district and campus staff. Utilizing a very different “social distancing” approach, the ceremony went without any issues that OPD was required to take enforcement action on. Congrats to the OHS class of 2020.
May 29th- Chief Romero patrolled the city with officer Jeremy Jones for several hours. The chief took notice of some community concerns and will be working on long-term solutions for the identified concerns (Traffic hazards, illegal camping, and obstruction of public sidewalks).
May 29th-OPD assisted DHS at the DHS food drive which was conducted at Beck Kiwanis Park. OPD assisted with some simple traffic control at the venue to ensure the public safety.
May 29th- OPD hosted a multi-agency crime suppression operation which focused on felony criminal activity and some identified suspected felons. OPD remains focused on keeping the city free of violent crime and improving the quality of life for everyone in the city.
May 28th-Code enforcement officers responded to a vicious dog call that resulted in the mauling death of a smaller dog, being held by its owner. An adult Pit Bull was impounded by OPD CEO’s and the case is pending review by the justice court. The impounded k-9 and its owner(s) have multiple prior contacts and citations for the dog’s vicious behavior. The Chief will be seeking a “No return to owner” order from the court.
May 28th- Code enforcement officers responded to an animal neglect in the southeast section of the city. The CEO’s noticed two horses that were without water and appear to be in the early stages of emaciation. The owners had previously been contacted for similar concerns and were issued a final warning for potential animal neglect. Corrective action was immediately taken by the owners.
Code enforcement officers remained busy with parking violation enforcement and property abatement throughout the week and are working with the chief to develop some new technological methods to educate the public on a variety of ordinance concerns.
We have changed schedules for all crews in response to COVID-19 response. As much work is being done remotely and other operations are being modified to limit exposure to those that must be in the field. Weekly checks on staff and operations related to the pandemic are in place.
Curb and sidewalk bulb-out work continues on the Oregon Street project. Most of the work on Oregon Street at the intersections of both SW 4th Avenue and SW 3rd Avenue is wrapping up and the work focus will be moving to SW 2nd Avenue and SW 1st Avenue. Once the bulb-out work has been completed, the asphalt on Oregon Street will be milled and a fresh layer of asphalt laid. Duration for the full project is slated for completion by mid-July.
The annual water Consumer Confidence Report, (CCR) is complete. Annual maintenance on the Grundfos chemical pumps is scheduled.
Hydrogen Sulfide sampling of Lagoon #1 has been completed. The technical group is reviewing the data. Additional sampling locations may be needed to further understand the root cause.
Aerator repair and repositioning work continues at Lagoon #1, #2/3, #4A and #4B.
The Skyline reservoir is approaching the 20 level. Crews will be monitoring irrigation water usage to ensure the reservoir doesn’t overfill.
Parks and Cemeteries
Focus is on lawn mowing at the airport, golf course and West Side booster station. Cemetery flower pickup is scheduled for Tuesday next week.
Additional pea gravel is needed around the new play structure at Lions Park. Landscaping and seeding is also needed around the new sidewalk at Lions Park.
ODEQ has approved the pH adjustment plan mandated by the NPDES permit. The Beck Park bridge rehab proposal will be presented to the Working Group on June 4th.
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.