Government Update: 2-16-05

Bob Quinton is John Day's new mayor. He was appointed to the position Feb. 8 at the City Council meeting. He replaces Roger Simonsen, who resigned as mayor last month. Quinton's term ends in December 2006. The Eagle/Jill Mallory

Here's a glance at what city governments have done and are planning to do.

John Day

• At the Feb. 8 meeting, Councilman Bob Quinton was appointed mayor on a 4-1 vote.

Before the vote, Mike Cosgrove and Quinton made their cases to be appointed as mayor.

Cosgrove spoke of his relationships and contacts after living here for 30 years, and now that his son is in college, he has more time for the job.

Quinton talked about his degrees in business and finance. The positions he holds in various financial institutions and his community involvement keeps him active and gives him the opportunity to network with others.

He is the incoming president for the Chamber of Commerce, interim president of Family First and on the John Day code update committee.

Both candidates spoke on the importance of the industrial park.

Three people stood up and spoke about how Cosgrove helped them or their families.

-Councilman Don Caldwell nominated Quinton and Councilwoman Lesley Lindley seconded it. Councilmen Jack Grubbs and Gene Officer voted for Quinton. Chris Labhart voted no. Labhart expressed the desire to see Cosgrove try to get the empty council chair.

-The appointment of a mayor was necessary after former Mayor Roger Simonsen resigned Jan. 1. The term ends in December 2006.

-Quinton was sworn in by City Manager Peggy Carey. The Council discussed advertising the vacancy for a new council member for two weeks.

• In executive session, the Council discussed details of a proposal by a potential second tenant at the industrial park. A manufacturer of motorcycle assessories is interested in bringing his business to Grant County.

- Jill Mallory

Long Creek

• New City Attorney Daniel Cronin turned over to the city legal files pertaining to the attempted purchase of the Hudspeth mill site on the north side of town. The Circuit Court recently declared the suit void.- The council decided to review the paperwork and remove any confidential material before releasing it for public review.

• Councilwoman Lavelle Holmes reported on inspecting the Masonic Hall that was donated to the city.-The hall needs mostly cosmetic work, and her committee thought that most of the work could be done at little expense.-

Further debate revealed that work was likely necessary to bring the building to American Disabilities Act standards.

The council decided to defer any work, except for the replacement of the roof caps, until the building inspector arrives from Pendleton.

• Councilwoman Charissa Hixenbaugh recommended that the city consider setting up a Web site to promote the city and local businesses.-

• Fire Chief Don Porter recommended that the city rescind a letter sent to residents in the 421 calling area stating that the Long Creek Fire Department would provide services to those residents. Porter said that eight out of the 10 fire calls had been to homes outside city limits; and that with only three fully trained firefighters, the city was left unprotected when they responded to these calls.-The council agreed to consider the measure.

• The Council is considering once again offering recycling services.-Clark's Disposal in John Day will accept only newspaper and magazines, while K&B in Pendleton will accept nearly all recyclables and pay the city for newsprint. -

The Council discussed the logistics of hauling recyclables to either location, including the lack of suitability of the city's truck to haul loads to either John Day or Pendleton. -

The Council decided that a new building at the Transfer Station would be the best receiving location.- Further research will be made into potential costs.

- Patrick Bentz

Seneca

• Mayor Linda Starbuck was unanimously appointed to another two-year term, and Mike Browning was sworn in as councilman and appointed as the Council president.

• The Council decided it would be easier on water users to pay the required water-rate increase in three small increases spread over time. The first increase was $2 in February.

• Corry Rider's city recorder's job title and description was changed to recorder/ manager as outlined in the new city charter.

Prairie City

• Mark Wishard was voted by the Council to fill one of three vacant Council positions.

Mt. Vernon

• The city's sidewalk and streetscape project is progressing. The project is the cornerstone of the city's downtown revitalization effort to encourage tourism and provide a safe place to walk or bicycle along Highway 26.

State Transportation Enhancement Funds totaling $525,978 and $60,200 of city funds will be used to pay for the work.

• The city is close to asking for public comment on a proposal to create a park and greenbelt trail on city land along the banks of the John Day River.

The 19-acre parcel is in the 100-year floodplain, but has been federally approved for use as a park.

Proposed improvements in the area south of Highway 26 near Ingle and Cottonwood streets include a picnic shelter, restrooms, trails and a RV park.

The project is part of the city's strategic plan that was developed in 1998.

County Court

• At the Feb. 9 meeting, a preliminary proposal to access Highway 26 from Chimney Gulch was discussed.

The Road Department hasn't walked the draw to check feasibility of the project, and no money will be spent until more details are worked out.

It's not a priority, because the Road Deaprtment is busy with several other projects, most maintenance.

Chimney Gulch is west of John Day, between the apricot tree and Malheur Lumber Company.

• A Measure 37 claim by Danny Ellison is being reviewed by the state, which has asked for more information about how the money figure was arrived at. The state said it should be able to officially respond within the county's 60-day time frame.

There has been no other claim under the measure, but people have brought their deeds into the Planning Department to see what they could have done with their property.

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