Notes from the Council Chambers

Release Date: 
04/20/2016

At the April 19, 2016 City Council meeting, the council recognized the contribution of several volunteers who have donated hundreds of hours in service to the City.  This program is making a significant impact across the City, but primarily at the Library and at Parks and Recreation.  Their contribution adds value to City services, making Pendleton a better community.

The Council heard from Brian Harrington, Accounting Supervisor, and project manager on the financial software conversion.  This system is making financial information more available to all city departments.  Additional investment has been made recently in GIS, asset management, and document management software that not only is intended to improve internal access to information but public access as well.

The Council had the first reading of a new ordinance that continues a temporary ban on cell towers in the commercial zone.  The initial ban was done upon staff recommendation when it was learned that cell towers are allowed outright in commercially zoned properties within the City.  It is common that the siting of towers is allowed but require a conditional use hearing which may impose standards of approval specific to that location.  As an example, one tower previously sited in Pendleton was required to be painted to reduce glare and partially hid the tower by blending in better with the landscape.  The temporary ban was put into place to give the Planning Commission and Council time to consider amending the ordinance.  It was determined that the original time provided was insufficient and this ordinance extends that temporary ban for an additional 180 days.  The ordinance will be heard in a public meeting at the May 3nd Council meeting.

The Council also considered a 5 year lease for the BMCC baseball field.  The field sits on property that was recently donated to the City by the State of Oregon.  This donation was done to compensate for the closure of the psychiatric hospital.  The land is zoned industrial, and the college is concerned about the long term status of that location now that it has changed hands.  Staff felt that 5 years would be enough time to be able to work with the college to decide if indeed the ball field should remain there or we should find a different location.  Council supports the college, but at the same time was concerned about the possibility of having an opportunity arise that would add jobs and industry at that location.  They requested staff to work with BMCC to develop language that gave the City the ability to cancel the lease prior to the five year timeline.  The lease will go back to Council at a future meeting.

Council approved a 3 year contract with Goldstreet Design Agency to provide EPA mandated Water Quality Reports and other marketing material for city owned utilities.  The information is intended to capture the attention of the customer and effectively communicate important information that might otherwise be overlooked as “junk mail”.  Communicating effectively can be a challenge as we compete for people’s attention, and requires new ways of thinking.  This material has evolved from a multipage black and white document that no one read, to a snappy colored flyer with pictures intended to remind us of the “do’s and don’ts”  of living in a full service community, all of which contribute to saving money, the environment, and improving our overall quality of life.  For examples of this follow the links below:

2013 Water Quality Report

2014 Water Quality Report

A late item on the agenda was a funding request by the Chamber of Commerce and Travel Pendleton to fund an interactive walking tour of Pendleton bronze statues.  The tour would be accessed on a person’s mobile phone, providing maps and audio giving the user the background on the particular bronze.  The Council approved funding half of the $5,400 cost from the Arts Fund, which will be matched by urban renewal funds.  The mobile audio tour is supposed to be available early next week.

 

Robb Corbett, City Manager