Notes from the Council Chambers

Release Date: 

Notes from the City Manager:

Council Workshop July 12

Fire Station

At the Council workshop, Councilors heard from the Fire Chief who was reporting on community feedback he has received regarding the various options to locate a new fire station should a future bond be approved.  There are two videos on YouTube that were produced by an interested citizen that covers the current condition of the fire station and the locations being considered.  I was impressed with the thorough research done by the department on the various locations.  The Council eliminated all proposed locations except the old St. Anthony’s site and the old theater.  Goodwill has decided against building in Pendleton for 3-5 years.

Water/Sewer System Replacement and Expansion

Council also heard from Public Works Director Bob Patterson regarding efforts to obtain funding from the state to pay for water/sewer pipe replacement projects and system expansion.  The need to replace existing utility lines don’t need explaining.  Many of these lines, valves, etc. are as old at the City.  New fire suppression regulations, and our desire to attract industry, requires that we expand our system to better utilize the industrial property we have available.  The industrial land we have at the airport for sale has no utilities and the land that does is undersized.  Hill Meats are in the midst of a multi-million dollar expansion, and found out that the existing water lines needed to be replaced to meet their needs.  The State of Oregon repeatedly tells us that if we are serious about attracting industry - and the associated jobs - we have to have land available with utilities in place.

With regard to system expansion, our choice is to have the rate payers foot the bill, or we implement system development fees that are designed to transfer these costs to the developer.  It is commonly thought that these fees discourage development, though the reality is unclear.  As an example, Bend has some of the highest SDC fees that I am aware of (with a homebuilder paying $30,000 in SDC’s before they can start construction), that it does not appear that these fees are hindering growth there.

Council will be hearing about these proposed projects in August.

Street Paving

Council awarded the 2016 paving projects at the July 5 meeting.  These projects are part of the 2 year list of work approved by the council. 

The bids received for a slurry and crack seal project was almost double what was estimated.  Staff will most likely advise Council not to award this contract, believing that if we re-bid at a later date we will get a better price.

The Council believes it is necessary to successfully complete the 2 year list to gain trust from the residents necessary to get support for additional road funding in the future.  Toward this end, the next 12 months we are working toward completing water and sewer line replacement under roads that remain unpaved on the 2 year list so we can pave them in 2017.

On our homepage, we have added a paving link that would allow residents to track our progress.

Council Meeting July 5

UAS Test Range

Council was introduced to Darryl Abling, the new Airport Range Manager.  This position is paid for by a state grant.  He is a retired employee of Northrup Grumman, the fifth largest defense contractor in the world, and has experience on several UAS projects.  In Steve Chrisman’s own words, “I have never been more excited about the potential for the test range to benefit Pendleton than I am right now.”  Darryl and his wife recently purchased a home in Pendleton moving here from Southern California.


The Resolutions that were on the agenda were pulled off the agenda because of error in procedure.  These proposed ordinances and resolutions will place the question before the residents of Pendleton in November: do you want to allow medical dispensaries, do you want to allow retail sales of recreational marijuana; and the, if the voters agree to both of these questions, do you want to institute a local tax?

The ordinances and resolutions will be on the July 19 Council agenda.

Council Meeting June 21

Airport Regulation Ordinance

City Council approved an amendment to the airport rules ordinance instituting new fees and updating some rules.  One of these rules requires anyone who leases a hangar at the airport to use it for airport related purposes.  The City is working to not only generate more revenue at the airport but to be compliant with FAA regulations on airport operations.  It is not allowed to rent an airplane hangar on the airfield and use it as a storage unit.  It also harms the airport because we generate revenue from the use of airplanes in fuel flowage fees and counted flights at the airfield.

I could not be happier with the work that has been accomplished at the airport.  When I first arrived it looked like a third world country, with dilapidated buildings, weeds on the runway, and a rundown old terminal building.  While much remains to be done, the work that the City has done with little to no funding, is amazing.

Water and Sewer Utility Rates Discounts

Council approved a 10% rate discount for qualifying residents.

General Comments

If you want to get an overview of the new budget, follow this link and you can read my budget message in the front of the 2016-17 Budget document .

Robb Corbett, City Manager