The John Day City Council on Dec. 10 updated the public on the progress of 23 various projects that are in different stages of development.

The projects are organized into five categories: Street, Sidewalk, Bridge and Trail Improvements; Innovation Gateway & Riverfront Recreation Projects; Downtown/Main Street Improvements; Housing and Intergovernmental Projects.

“We are going to start to see steel in the ground,” said City Manager Nick Green. “We are going to see construction beginning in 2020 and then proceed for the next two to three years on all of these projects.”

Street, Sidewalk, Bridge and Trail Improvements

395 sidewalk extension: Due to a 2017 house bill, the small city allotment grant won’t allow funds for state highways, so the match of $75,000 will be covered by the city out of street funds. The Oregon Department of Transportation has the funds they need to complete the project and signed the appropriate agreements to go into final designs and construction in 2020.

Fourth Street repairs: Small city allotment funds will be redirected to cover this project with ODOT covering $50,000 of the cost and the Federal Emergency Management Agency covering the balance, as long as the project stays within the estimated cost, which is about $550,000. Green will see if it’s possible to get some Economic Development Administration funds so when streets are being repaired, fiber optic cable can also be installed up to the airport and to homes along Fourth Street, which will be done in partnership with Ortelco.

Charolais Heights intersection improvements: This project has been funded and budgeted and will be complete by summer 2020.

Oregon Pine bridge improvements: There is an engineer bridge plan, and bids are out for the project. The city budgeted $90,000 for the project, but the city will need to see what kind of bids come back.

2020 BUILD grant that would help fund projects for the Seventh Street Extension, Charolais Heights and Third Street Extension bridge: The city did not receive this grant. The city will receive a letter in January outlining the positive and negative parts of the application and will reapply in July.

Innovation Gateway & Riverfront Recreation Projects

Hotel site development: The design build team for the Pridays, who plan to build a hotel, will be on the build site this week. They will be doing their first on-site walk through. The city is contracted to do a transportation impact assessment for the new hotel and the future conference center. The assessment will look into traffic counts and driveway approaches onto the property. The city will also hold a public hearing before the John Day Planning Commission about the land partition of the Oregon Pine property and site design.

Treatment plant: There are four bids to take on the wastewater treatment plant project from Kubota, H2O Innovations, Alfa Laval and Cloacina. The city is expected to award a bid by the end of the month.

Aquatics center: The feasibility study regarding the pool will come back in February 2020. This study will help determine a county service district the county court could put before voters in June or November. There are currently four different options of proposed service districts for the facility.

Integrated Park System: The city is waiting for the State Historic Preservation Office to deliver its observations on the area. Green has told the SHPO through a variety of formats that the area for the trail park has gone through significant ground projects in the last 100 years and feels that, if there were any items of archeological significance, they have already been found. The city is waiting to hear back from the SHPO by the end of December. Davis Creek has been completed. Steve Baldwin recommended putting a battlefield cross in Davis Creek near the cemetery to honor veterans and their sacrifices. The city is looking at a grant to help fund this addition.

Greenhouse: The greenhouse currently produces red and green romaine lettuce, red and green butterhead lettuce, basil, cilantro, cucumbers and tomatoes. 1188 Brewing Co., Timbers Bistro and Chester’s Thriftway currently receive produce from the greenhouse with a possibility of two more restaurants being supplied in the spring or summer. The city is looking into adding two more bays for the greenhouse through the U.S. Economic Development Administration grant. A portion of the grant is for disaster recovery, and the other funds are for resilience. Green will see if constructing two additional bays can be funded by the grant to offset the capital cost. Businesses interested in receiving produce from the greenhouse should notify Green or Aaron Lieuallen, the city’s senior project manager.

Community pavilion: The USDA rural development and a nonprofit partner are interested in financing the pavilion. Once other projects, such as the wastewater treatment plant or aquatic center are on auto pilot, Green will continue with the pavilion project sometime between now and June.

Conference center concept development: The city is going to create a planning and development plan for the project. These will be necessary for a concept plan.

Iron Triangle property acquisition: This is a 14-acre parcel that includes two small office buildings and a main shop, according to Green. The city is planning to purchase the area to obtain the right of way between Patterson Bridge Road and Valley View Drive to create the new Government Entry Road and complete the Seventh Street Extension as part of the Innovation Gateway project.

The city plans to have the office buildings demolished, complete the streets and then replat the 14-acres into smaller lots that can be used for light industrial purposes, according to Green. The plan is to start the Phase 1 environmental assessment early in 2020 with the goal of completing the property purchase by June 2020, but no later than November.

Downtown/Main Street Improvements

Downtown parking improvements: The city approved Green to sign the purchase and sale agreement of the Brazil/Morrison lot and do anything else needed to obtain the property. The city is also planning to create additional parking next to city hall.

Len’s Drug renovation: The city is expecting an application in the near future regarding the improvements. Once the application is in, there will be discussions on timelines and the design team for the project.


Weaver Building: Tyler Sheedy purchased the Weaver building on Nov. 27. While the development agreement is not finished, the plan is to complete the renovation within the next five years.

Phase 2 of Ironwood Estates: Iron Triangle plans to use the funds from the Iron Triangle property acquisition to help fund Phase 2 of Ironwood Estates.

Strawberry View Estates: The property has been acquired by Mahogany Ridge Properties, which will be talking with the council to do an initial consult on land development requirements. Rust Cumber and Josh Walker purchased the property two months ago and want to work with the city and revisit creating a master plan for the area.

Riverside Home Park code enforcement and tenant improvements: The city did an inspection of the park and is working to address the findings. The city is looking at creating a developing agreement with the park owners to bring the nonconforming units into compliance with the code. The Planning Commission hearing for Riverside will be held Jan. 14.

Intergovernmental Projects

Broadband expansion: The city seeks to provide fiber optic cable up the path to the fairgrounds and the residences there. Other areas the city plans to cover are: the path leading up to the airport, down to the new wastewater treatment site, the new hotel, up to Phase 2 of Ironwood Estates and Valley View Drive. The goal is to have fiber to every premise in John Day within the next three years. To help the city accomplish this goal, there are plans to obtain a mini excavator.

Oregon RAIN: There are six candidates that the hiring committee will review for the rural venture capitalist position. The hiring committee will meet Jan. 8 to make a decision. The goal is to have somebody ready by the beginning of 2020.

County fairgrounds project: The fairgrounds strategic planning effort will continue through March. Allison Field, the Grant County Economic Development director, Mindy Winegar, the fairgrounds manager, Donna Palmer, fairgrounds board chair, and Daisy Goebel, a city planning associate, are working with the city’s consultants, EcoNorthwest and Walker Macy, on that effort, Green said. The Trowbridge Pavilion will undergo a 10-week project set to begin and end between March 9 and May 11, depending on contractors and their availability. This will fix the pavilion’s concrete floor, which has been lifted and cracked by roots from trees.

Kam Wah Chung State Heritage Site: The city is expecting a revised offer from the state regarding the sale of the land where Gleason Pool is located.


Rudy Diaz is a reporter for the Blue Mountain Eagle. Contact him at or 541-575-0710.

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