Protest – Our local law enforcement did an excellent job of ensuring the demonstrators were protected as they conducted a peaceful protest. Great plan by the Chiefs’ staff and carried out excellently. They were ready for a range of possibilities but were largely unseen. We are thankful for the organizers who demanded a peaceful protest. Most people won’t realize the planning that went into making that safe, but it was significant.
COVID-19 Good news from the state, the League of Oregon Cities has been working with them to get money to local governments. The state is following the pattern set by the State of Washington. It appears that we will get, at the minimum, $50,000. They will put this in a bank account for us to draw down. I’m not really sure on allowable expenses. More to come
Also, the Malheur County Team was successful in getting us to Phase II. This opens some more business and outdoor recreation activities. Here is the link to the Executive Order that established Phase II changes.
South Oregon Construction – Curb and sidewalk bulb-out work continues on the Oregon Street project. Most of the work focus has moved to SW 2nd Avenue and SW 1st Avenue. The bulb-out work is on track to be completed by mid-June. The asphalt milling and repaving of Oregon Street is scheduled to begin after the July 4th holiday weekend. The full project is slated for completion by mid-July. Mid-block crosswalks were removed on the 100 block of Oregon.
I have spent a lot of time personally talking with business owners and responding to their requests. It’s been good to get to know some of them better.
Merchant McIntyre – Peter organized our brainstorming session for grants for next Friday. Our department heads will be meeting with the company at different times throughout the day to create a wish list for them to pursue.
SREDA Board Meeting was early Tuesday morning in Weiser. Dan Cummings and I rode together to attend.
Homeless Forum – We are planning for the public feedback session about the transitional shelter to be held on June 17 at 6:30. I have notified Nichols and Mary Butler, one of the neighbors who has come to council meeting. We will advertise more publicly next week.
Bright Hydrants - I was asked by a local citizen, who wants to continue to paint fire hydrants, for a map of them around the Verde and Idaho intersection. Public Works provided her with some paint, and I made the maps for her. Freddy’s fire hydrant program continues!
Airport – The Cares Act Funding for the airport was executed this week so we should see that revenue this year. That is a little over $30,000.
Local Grant Program – We received our first application for the loan/grant program. Hopefully we will have some more to get done on the 16th. Our boots on the ground team met yesterday and talked about helping people through the application process.
Street Lighting – Work and planning with Idaho Power continues on the decorative street lighting for downtown.
City Hall Reopening – We will be opening the doors back to the public on Monday. I want to praise the staff, particularly Peter, Veronica, and Chief Leighton. They have established protocols for all our customers to follow to ensure we are doing our best to keep people healthy. They have done this work autonomously with no direction needed. That’s a high performing organization!
Fire & Rescue
5/26 Malheur County Ambulance Service District funding meeting.
5/19-22, Utility Vehicle field operations. 5/26 Haz-Mat equipment testing, and Water Rescue at Beck Park. 6/2 Bites and Stings and all those nasty things.
5/27 Rescue 1 and 103 led the way for the Ontario High School graduation parade. 5/29 Some of the staff participated in the food drive at Beck Kiwanis Park. 6/1 The staff and apparatus participated in a parade with multiple city, county, and state agencies to celebrate the retirement of a long-time public safety dispatcher. 6/3 Chief assisted with the second Covid-19 drive thru testing done in Ontario at the county fairgrounds.
The past couple of weeks we have had numerous illegal burns and grass fires, we also had three calls for natural gas leaks. The staff responded to mutual aid for a structure fire in Payette, and a fire sprinkler system activation at Heinz Ore-Ida on NE. 6th Ave.
Volunteer help at the airport this week was very much appreciated.
The airport received its first SEAT (single engine air tanker) aircraft today in preparation for the firefighting season. At least two tankers will be based at the airport throughout the summer as the Bureau of land management prepares the retardant for aerial applications.
The grass runway has been mowed twice now and is continuing to be irrigated with the wheel lines.
The application to the FAA for the CARES act funding has been submitted and received. We are now waiting the next step before actually receiving that funding.
One of the security gates is inoperable. The Airport Manager is working with the manufacturer to make the necessary repairs.
Community & Economic Development
The office was partially open this week allowing a few customers to come in but restricting them to one person or group at a time, while staff is still handling most outside communication by phone and conference calls. With but the new protective glass installed along the countertop we have been able to allow the few customers to access of front lobby on a limited basis which has helped in customer service.
Staff is reviewing 8 building applications this week and has issued 6 building permits this past week prior to Marcy leaving on vacation.
but Dwyane Holloway our Inspector will be covering for her on inspections to keep things moving along.
The Planning department is keeping extremely busy with land use action and will have a couple of actions on the July 13th Planning Commission meeting as well as the July 31st Council meeting.
We had some great news yesterday; Dan received a phone call from Sean Edging from DLCD congratulating him on being selected to receive all our requested grant for the required studies and code changes mandated by the State legislation this past year ($50,000). Dan received one of the letters already but was told he would receive the others soon. They are allowing us to do a combined Housing Needs Analysis (HNA) and the Prototype Housing into one study for the $40,000 plus the Code assistance for $10,000, calling it a Modified HNA/Production Strategy Study as our area doesn’t meet the normal requirements of their Prototype Housing rules, but our application showed a unique need for housing not just land use, so they are awarding us all of it under a modified HNA at contract time. It will be another very busy year getting these studies and code changes done along with the many other projects in the works. Way to go Dan!
Flood Plain Administration
Dan is continuing to work on amending Ontario Flood Plain Code (10A-47) to meet the new Oregon Model Code and federal regulations (FEMA) and should have it on the planning agenda for July.
Staff along with the help of Kit Kamo of SREDA continue to work with several of our ongoing Economic Development Projects.
June 3-4th This week, chief Romero was called upon to develop a response plan with fairly short notice, for a large crowd protest and march. Chief Romero conducted executive level planning sessions with area law enforcement executives and the OPD leadership team. Chief Romero developed a written action plan that was subsequently carried out by OPD during the protest and march. Chief Romero is glad to report that the event was absent any violence or criminal activity. The chief praised the behavior of the protestors’ who remained law-abiding and respectful and the police officers, who displayed, professionalism, empathy, and restraint.
June 5th- Chief Romero and OPD staff met with protest/march host Charlie Gonzalez to discuss the June 4th protest and march and to plan for a second protest and march on June 5th. The meeting was considered informative, positive, and productive and should assist in keeping a peaceful protest and march tonight (June 5, 2020). Chief Romero intends to engage the crowd in productive dialogue this evening. Friday’ night’s March was also very peaceful, the organizers ensured that the protesters were respectful and left no mess. They left no debris at city hall. We respect any group’s protected right to peaceably assemble. This demonstrates that our diverse community is strong and law abiding. They want an ongoing dialogue with the city and we know that there are always ways in which we can improve.
It would be good to connect this new group’s leadership with our Diversity Advisory Committee.
May 31st- OPD responded to a call of a man with a knife posing a threat to others and acting violent. Through excellent communication and tactics, the subject was successfully disarmed by officers without injury to anyone and the subject was arrested.
June 4th- OPD responded to the BLM protest and march. All aspects of the event went very well and OPD did not report any incidents of violence or civil disorder as it relates to the protest and march.
June 5th- OPD responded to a second protest and march by BLM. Chief Romero was invited to engage the participants in dialogue and fielded a variety of inquiries. The Chief reports that no safety or crime concerns developed. The protest/march finished without any concerns.
Active week for code enforcement having to be used as support services for OPD relating to parking enforcement issues, primarily due to the protest and march on June 4th.
Crack-sealing on Verde Drive, SW9th Street, and NW 8th Avenue was completed in preparation for chip sealing the week of June 15th.
Annual maintenance on the Grundfos chemical pumps is scheduled. Production Well #15 well pump was installed this week. Production Well #6 well pump will be installed next.
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 has dropped to 18.5 feet now that irrigation water usage has increased.
Parks and Cemetery
Cemetery flower pickup went very smoothly this past Tuesday, due in no small part to community volunteers.
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.
Crews will be placing sanitary facilities at Beck Park and scheduling five day/week cleanings.
The prep work for the walking path around Laxson Park is finished. Paving should be completed in the near future.
Work on the skate park was scheduled to begin Wednesday this week.
The pH adjustment building concept is being reworked to true up costs. An updated proposal is expected by week’s end.
The mixing zone study is moving forward.
Understanding water rights on the Malheur River is in progress.
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.