Well we had a fast start to the week and the City made some big moves.
Our boots-on-the ground team met on Thursday. The SBDC has been a great resource for our smaller businesses. Malheur County Economic Development hired a new employee to join our boots on the ground team.
I am meeting with Greg Smith and his new employee on Thursday of this week.
Grant Writer - We had the interview with Merchant McIntyre on Monday and the you approved that on Tuesday. I think this will be a great move. This is the third time staff has interviewed them and we have always been impressed. We are putting our community in the forefront with this help.
The County Court allowed me to present what was happening on Wednesday morning. They said they would like to see how it goes with the first 90 days and they wanted to talk to me about Merchant McIntyre.
We got a request in yesterday for additional reimbursement. Thanks to Kari Ott for getting that in order and getting it submitted.
Water Trail – I have had some conversation with a provider of the facilities for the water trail. We are going to walk the property next week to walk the sites so that we can explore any regulatory requirements with Jacobs.
Snake River Trail - Kraft Heinz, Americold, and Idaho Power made some progress on the property split. I believe all three of them agree now and we can move forward with the land action processes for the land swap.
Homeless – We held a meeting with the interfaith community on Thursday to discuss their participation in the homeless shelter going forward. We had Pastor Greco, Pastor Brewer, and Pastor LeBoutillier. Doug Lamb also joined us from Nichols. It was a good start to their involvement. The pastors were very impressed with the accomplishments of the 28-day pilot. The next step will be to hold a listening session with the neighbors and businesses.
Capital Project Splits – I met with Jacobs this week and we went over the projects for the coming year and divided them up into the projects we will contract out and the projects that Jacobs will do.
South Oregon Safety Project – We got some directional signage printed up for parking and out on the street yesterday. Curbs were finished pouring today. It opened up this Saturday and Sunday. The sidewalks will be poured on Monday and Tuesday and then the operation will be moved down two blocks. We sent out two communications to business owners. We will keep up the communication.
The Airport Manager and City Manager sat down and met to go over numerous issues. Some of the equipment passed down to our airport is failing already. We are looking at options. We did confirm with the BLM that the $2.5 million is still secure.
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 countertop, we have been able to allow a few customers (one at a time) to access the front lobby on a limited basis.
Staff is reviewing 13 building applications this week and has issued 2 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 started the process of the street vacation which is part of the Heinz Food and City River Trail Project (Tater Tot Trail) (Dan & Adam held two conference calls on this project this week) as well as the vacation and development of the property along SE 6th Avenue and Claude Road for future pending development.
There will be several actions on the July Planning Commission meeting.
Dan held another meeting with a local property owner and a national RV Park developer in developing a very nice RV park in the City. The current plan is to develop at least 45 RV spaces and 48-50 spaces Manufactured Home park as well as a possible small retail store to serve the parks and surrounding community.
Dan held another meeting and drafted a new layout of the 35 units Veteran and senior gated community planned development off Alameda Drive. The property owner has found an investor that is seriously looking at help to develop this project. (see attached layout). Dan also participated in several COVID-19 recovery telecommunication discussions this week.
This week chief Romero worked with HR Director Hall on the OPD assets and infrastructure inventory report. All went well and all items being inventoried were accounted for.
May 20th-21st- Chief Romero travelled to Corvallis, Oregon to inspect and assess a Tactical Armored Vehicle (TAV) that has become available for OPD through the “No Cost” surplus program (LESO 1033). Chief Romero found the platform feasible for OPD use and is working with the state to officially procure the platform. This TAV will substantially augment OPD’s officers’ safety, as well as our community’s. Way to go Chief, for looking out for our men and women in black.
Chief Romero procured two military grade ballistic vests (in kind) from the Benton County Sheriff Office during his visit to Corvallis.
With the COVID 19 phase 1 re-opening, OPD noticed an increased level of calls for service rather immediate. Call types varied but OPD was prepared to respond to any potential spikes in criminal activity.
May 20th- OPD assisted OSP in the city limits with a traffic stop that resulted in the arrest of an armed drug dealer. The suspect was subsequently processed and lodged in the county jail. Great catch of another high-level criminal by our area law enforcement
May 20th- OPD responded to the D&B Supply business to conduct a “shots fired” investigation. OPD discovered evidence at the scene of a random shooting incident with no known suspects or intended victim(s) at this time. The investigation is on-going.
Code enforcement officers remained quite busy this week with traditional ordinance concerns and responded to some specific complaints regarding blight and parking violations.
We have changed schedules for all crews in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. As much work as possible 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.
Work began on the South Oregon Street project. Curbs and sidewalk work continue prior to asphalt overlay. Duration for the full project is slated for mid-July.
Crews are in place for the long Memorial Day weekend. Monday will be an observed holiday.
Crews installed sign bases along the Treasure Valley Connector Trail, removed the concrete and filled the void on South Oregon and SE 3rd Avenue, and cleared plugged catch basins from the heavy rains.
Well rehabilitation was initiated and will continue through next week.
Odor monitoring equipment was placed in multiple manhole locations near the influent lagoon. We are quantifying hydrogen sulfide to get an understanding of the odor issues.
Odors are still present, but they seem to be diminishing. Obviously, this is a subjective thing. We appreciate the public’s patience during this time. Solids mining will begin later this year and will address the root of this problem.
Staff have been working to address some on the deficiencies in the Skyline and Malheur irrigation system.
Parks and Cemeteries
Spring cleanup at the cemeteries was completed for Memorial Day this weekend. Staff deserve a special recognition due to the fact that normal work crews from the prison who help with this effort were not available this year due to COVID issues.
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.