As reported by LeAnne Woolf……
Sumpter City Council met in regular session at 7 pm, Tue, Nov 12. Mayor John Young shared comments from an OSHA representative that met with city staff members and the fire chief while John was out of town. She’d come to Sumpter after numerous anonymous complaints about work at the storage/restroom building at the small city park. While she was in town, she toured other facilities as well. Once she had prepared her report and was off duty, she attended the Spaghetti Feed and enjoyed chatting with residents and getting a feel for the Sumpter area. In her report, her only suggestions were a larger eyewash station at the water tower compound and hand rails at the lagoon pump house.
City Recorder Julie McKinney has spoken with new County Road Master Jeff Smith about speed limit signs for Bourne Road. He gave her contact information for a different, less expensive source of signage and suggested the city have the sheriff put up game cameras to watch for theft, as happened with previous signs.
Utility Manager Jeff McKinney had a long list of accomplishments for the past month. The effluent irrigation season is over, the sprinkler lines have been drained, and the sewer lagoon is empty enough for the winter season. Weeds had also been burned off around the lagoon and the pump house winterized. Two sand filters were cleaned up at the water tower. Repairs were made to the redwood tank. Drain sumps on the corners of Austin and Granite had been cleaned out and the culvert under the highway opened up. Sand was cleared from the McCully intake. Much had been cleaned and organized at the City Shop and Yard. A mainline break a quarter mile south of the turnoff for McCully had been fixed. The snow plow engine is working and will be ready to go once shoes are welded onto the blade to help prevent gouging up road surface.
Assistant Fire Chief Jim Sheller reported about a hunting group that had come down from Granite with an apparent heart attack victim that Sumpter medical personnel took care of until the Baker City ambulance arrived. The QRU is being winterized. John added that the brush truck was also being winterized with such things as new tires courtesy of the Volunteer Firemen’s Association grant. The VFA grant will also see the brush truck painted red and the purchase of two fire shelters for when personnel go out with ODF; fire shelters have been loaned from ODF previously.
Brief items under old business were announcements that the third pre-trial hearing on the Woodley, et al., lawsuit was still scheduled for Nov 18, the Recycled Water Use Plan had gone from DEQ to the Oregon Health Authority, and a meeting will be held Nov 19 between the city’s attorney and a DEQ attorney regarding the City appeal of the DEQ fine of several months ago. Flea Market materials had been requested from the Park Manager, but not yet received.
The roof is on the storage/restroom building at the small city park and earlier on the 12th, seven yards of concrete had been poured for sidewalks and restrooms. The siding is also on and painted. The first reimbursement request for materials to OPRD precipitated an email from that office complimenting Barb Malone on how thorough and easily understood her preparation of the request had been. In addition, the total of volunteer hours and donated materials is already double the required amount for matching.
Marlene Bork reported that the County Planning Department is hesitant to rename Cracker Creek Road to Bourne Road because it might cause confusion with Bourne Avenue a block away. The renaming request is being made because of instances in which medical personnel were sent to Cracker Street rather than to Cracker Creek Road. There is no way to get from dead-end Cracker Street across the river to Cracker Creek Road. There are ways to get from Bourne Avenue to Bourne Road. Other options include using Ellis Avenue, which lies under the county road for several blocks, or holding a naming contest.
Under public input, Jack Turner requested reimbursement for extra expenses he feels he incurred in getting hooked up to city sewer. Council will visit the site, ask questions of the involved parties, and place the request on next month’s agenda.
Neal Bork asked about an object, a recorder, on the side table. This is part of an ongoing dispute between residents who dislike how the City conducts business and the City and those who support City actions. It is legal to tape public meetings, but the owners of the recorder tape for several minutes before the meeting as well. Neal pointed out that they had not announced that they were recording, which they’ve refused to do for several months. Karen Peters pointed out that there was a sign lying on the table under the recorder. Neal said he didn’t want to have to read the sign to know what was going on. Karen said she had nothing further to say, on advice of counsel. The City was told by its previous attorney that filing a complaint about recording of conversations before the meetings was up to those being recorded. So far those who want their right to privacy respected have not sued those who are recording them, but the situation is of concern to Council.
Council member Annie Oakley asked about the closing of the shower building up at the Grounds before hunting seasons had ended. Julie pointed out that the Park Manager’s contract ended Oct 31. Furthermore, the costs of keeping the building heated and unfrozen this late in the year outweigh shower income significantly.
Council member LeAnne Woolf spoke about the League of Oregon Cities Small Cities Region 8 meeting in Nyssa on Oct 17 (previously reported on in this column) and a few items she learned from the Nov 5 Baker County Chamber of Commerce meeting: the end of the current contract for Historic Baker City overseeing historic downtown Baker City and how at the State Chamber Conference attendees were being encouraged to get their Chambers of Commerce more involved in economic development and work force development, for example. John asked about Miner’s Jubilee. The Chamber was in charge of parade and vendors in the park, and so far no one else has stepped up to take over those events; the Fair Board–with other activities that weekend–is the latest to decline taking on the parade and Geiser-Pollman vendors.
Finally, LeAnne gave a run down on the schedule of holiday activities in Sumpter, starting with the sorting of tree decorations on Nov 29 and tree decorating on Nov 30, through the Downtown Open House of businesses Dec 7 and 8, the Christmas Bazaar on Dec 14 and 15, the Christmas Trains the first two weekends of Dec, and the Christmas Parade on Dec 14, with the tree being undecorated on Jan 3, weather permitting.
Meeting adjourned at 8:01 pm.
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