2.14.13 In the News

Inside Portlandia

A breakdown on Tigard’s River Terrace planning process ahead of Beaverton-Tigard joint meeting – Tigard and Beaverton city councils will hold an annual joint meeting tonight to discuss planning two recently annexed areas – River Terrace in Tigard and South Cooper Mountain in Beaverton. The meeting tonight is a chance for Beaverton and Tigard officials to discuss areas where they can coordinate services. Part of that includes extending water and sewage services to River Terrace and South Cooper Mountain.

Banks City Council Roundup: Energy contest, city planner retires, library fundraiser

Council OKs forced annexation – After years of “will they or won’t they?” the Forest Grove City Council this week finally voted its “islanders” into the city. By a 5-1 vote, the council decided to annex 23 unincorporated parcels of property without their owners’ permission. The issue, however, may not be over, as two property owners told the News-Times they are looking into taking legal action to at least delay the proceedings.

Forest Grove eyes project to bolster dam – The City of Forest Grove is saving a little bit of money now so that it’s ready to help pay its share of a big-ticket project down the road that will ensure a stable supply of water. Although the exact amount isn’t known, a recent analysis showed that it could cost the city up to $6 million to help upgrade Scoggins Dam south of Forest Grove, making it one of the largest capital expenditures in city history.

Former Milwaukie city recorder charged with theft, misconduct, computer crimes – A former Milwaukie assistant city recorder was arrested today and booked into the Clackamas County Jail on charges of theft, official misconduct and computer crimes. Juli K. Howard, 40, resigned from her position in August 2012, around the time the city’s finance department and municipal court personnel noticed suspicious transactions and ordered an internal financial audit.

State of City likely to address water rates – Ticket sales will close on Friday, Feb. 15, for Oregon City Mayor Doug Neeley’s third-annual State of the City Address. Neeley is expected to discuss his priorities around referendums to prevent a water-rate rollback and modify a cap on water-rate increases enacted by voters in the ’90s (“OC rate rollback hits city projects,” Aug. 14, 2012). At last week’s regular meeting, the City Commission discussed language of separate ballot measures to address the rollback and to raise a cap on water-rate increases to 6 percent.

Water Bureau has spent $153,000 on fluoride plan: Portland City Hall roundup – Even though Portland voters temporarily halted the city’s plan to add fluoride to drinking water, that didn’t stop the city from spending money on the project. Last year, the Portland Water Bureau spent $153,000 on the city’s since-halted plan, which would add fluoride to drinking water serving about 900,000 people in Portland and select suburbs. The Portland City Council unanimously approved the plan Sept. 12 but opponents immediately began collecting signatures to block the decision and force a public vote.

Outside Portlandia

Brookings considers alternate budget – Brookings city officials are drawing up “Plan B,” a budget designed to address how the city might be affected if a county tax levy fails in May. The ballot question, the wording of which will be addressed today (Feb. 13), will ask voters in unincorporated Curry County for a property tax increase of $1.97 per $1,000 assessed valuation and those in cities — Brookings, Gold Beach and Port Orford — for a tax increase of $1.84 per $1,000.

City of Ontario proceeds with industrial lands plan – With little discussion from their members or the public, the Ontario City Planning Commission and the City Council acted Monday night to expand Ontario’s urban growth boundary. The two bodies met at special joint session as part of the process to make more land available for industrial development.

Cottage Grove becomes ‘Heritage All-Star Community’ – Cottage Grove received recognition of its efforts to preserve its history and heritage last week. On Friday, Feb. 8, the Oregon Parks and Recreation Department announced that Cottage Grove has been designated by the Oregon Heritage Commission as an “Oregon Heritage All-Star Community.” The Commission created the All-Star program to recognize strong efforts by communities to broadly preserve and develop heritage resources.

E-I-E-I-Ordinance: City expanding urban farming options – Old MacDonald can have a farm in E-U-G-E-N-E. And on that farm he can have 6 chickens and 6 rabbits. Or 3 bee hives and 3 mini-goats. But he can’t have a chicken, a mini-pig and a bee hive. That’s the upshot of a proposed ordinance working its way through the City Council. The Council endorsed the measure Monday. It comes back to them February 20 for a final vote. The ordinance increases the numbers and kinds of animals that are OK to keep in Eugene. But Backyard farmers in Eugene would only be able to keep two types of critters.

Lincoln City Council leaning toward Devils Lake sewer plan – After two years of planning and debate, supporters of a Devils Lake sewer project emerged from a public hearing Monday with the city council on their side.

Mt. Angel official to step down – On March 11, Susan Muir will step down as Mt. Angel city administrator to take a new job as member services director with the League of Oregon Cities in Salem. In a quirky twist of fate, her interim replacement will be Jennie Messmer, who is retiring from the job that Muir is assuming.

Springfield councilor disputes his arrest – City Councilor Dave Ralston was arrested early Sunday morning on an intoxicated driving charge, shortly after a Springfield police officer noticed the longtime elected official’s car traveling slowly as he motored away from a local tavern, authorities said Monday. Ralston, 57, was lodged in the Springfield Municipal Jail after his 3 a.m. arrest. He said he remained in custody until approximately noon Sunday, when his father posted bail on his behalf. In an interview Ralston acknowledged that he made two predawn phone calls to city Police Chief Jerry Smith on Sunday — one from the location of his arrest, the other from jail — but said the conversations did not help him get out of trouble.

Stayton City council approves tax hike – The Stayton City Council voted unanimously to raise the franchise tax on residents’ electric bills from 5 to 7 percent at its meeting on Feb. 4. City finance director Christine Shaffer proposed the tax increase during the previous city council meeting on Jan. 22.