Listen – The Dalles City Council 06 08 2020

Screen capture of meeting. Swearing in takes place in second row window on the right, highlighted with yellow frame

The Dalles City Council met Monday night by Zoom. First topic on the agenda was swearing in the newest city council member, Scott Randa. He was selected to fill the seat emptied by the resignation of councilor Russ Brown. Randall is a 1978 graduate of The Dalles High School, served in the US Navy and has a bachelor’s degree from Oregon State. He currently works for The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers at John Day Dam.

His first meeting was  a busy one with a pair of public hearings and several action items. The hearings centered on the city’s budget for the new fiscal year that starts July 1, and on the proposed use of state revenues during that time.  A staff memo on the budget notes the  budget committee made more than 30 line item cuts totaling more than $949,000 in the new budget, due to current and anticipated lower revenues. Total budget for the year is proposed at  $73.8 million.Councilors approved  a general liability insurance coverage proposal for the fiscal year and, an exempt employee cost of living adjustment of 2.5 percent. That matches percentages negotiated by unions representing some of the employees. 

They also authorized city staff to file for a $75,000 grant from the Oregon Parks and Recreation Department.  The grant, which would require a $30,000 local match and would go towards planning and construction of a proposed Federal Street Public Plaza. City Public Works Director Dave Anderson reported on the recent rain event. The staff report noted a downtown social gathering place had been identified as a high priority during last year’s downtown visioning exercise. A location on Federal Street between East Second Street and the alleyway had been identified as a preferred location, being centrally located and offering limited impact to downtown traffic circulation and on-street parking. The city held several design workshops in February and a final design concept will be brought before the city council and the Columbia Gateway Urban Renewal Agency. The project would also require a potential $100,000 contribution from the city and $150,000 from Urban Renewal. Adoption of the resolution did not commit the city to the project, only to see if a grant would be approved.

City Public Works Director Dave Anderson reported on the recent thunderstorm.

 “It rained harder than what our systems are designed to take,” he said. “The regulations for our wastewater treatment plant require that we have the capability of handling a five-year storm event, and for us, that five-year event would translate into a flow of just over 7 and a half million gallons a day. The storm event that we had a couple weekends ago and the one we had last year both resulted in flows to the plant of flows about 14 million gallons a day.”

Anderson said that was well above what the regulations require of the city, and with recent upgrades planned to take the city through the year 2036, the city can pump up to 13.2 million gallons a day into the plant, he said, but haven’t yet matched that with the capacity to pump out.

“One of the things we do expect with climate change is an increase in what someone described as ‘weather weirdness,’ Anderson told the council. “Droughts may become drier; storms events may become stormier; rare rain events may happen more frequently. We’re trying to look ahead and at least pick the low-hanging fruit to improve the function of our storm water collection system to do a better job of handling these heavy thunderstorm and heavy rain events.”  

As councilors and members of the city administration gave their reports, Mayor Rich Mays noted that there are vacancies on several city boards and commissions

“Please spread the word that we are looking for good people to serve on the city boards and commissions,” he asked.

To hear the full city council meeting, click on the grey podcast bar below