Corvallis City Councilor Ward 3
sessions during Feb. 16 and 17th (please regard postcard to the above-right) in order to inform the community about upcoming construction regarding both Glass Plants; as well as gleaning community input about the process. Cindy stressed the importance to HV about having “pre-public meetings,” in order to promote transparency about upcoming changes. She also shared that “if there are no hiccups in the process, we could be done with the new filtration systems by December.”
Over December it was brought to the city’s attention, as well as our local County Commissioner, Xan Augerot, of the issues regarding the clean-up of abandoned camps in the park. Abandoned camps this past fall left a significant amount of refuse; including abandoned personal property, which due to recent lawsuits and such, needs to be taken with great care. Smith et al v. City of Corvallis, ruled upon in June of 2016, founded: the City’s previous protocols regarding abandoned personal property violated Fourth Amendment constitutional rights (improper search/seizure) of campers. Thus, the City is strictly accountable in the handling of property during a campsite cleanup.
In response to the exorbitant amount of refuse from camps in the park, a collective of citizens initiated their own clean-up over winter break; taking boats out and putting on their waders in order to gather items and refuse from abandoned camps that not only littered the banks of the river; but also were in the river per the rising water. From my understanding because of the liability issues founded in Smith et al v. City of Corvallis there was an officer patrolling the citizen’s efforts in the clean-up. Prior to the citizen’s cleanup, during the fall, Parks & Rec had already removed over 7,000 lbs. of garbage from Willamette Park alone; that is over 3 tons! The issue regarding the inundation of garbage and waste is one that needs to be addressed in order to mitigate this year repeating itself this upcoming fall.
New Work Session Day & Time!
It was decided amongst the 2017-18 Councilors that a shift in the Work Session schedule was more formidable this term. In my prior discussions with other incoming Councilors and constituents, it has been brought up that the Tuesday Work Session Schedule was prohibitive towards the attendance of several community members, who may wish to provide Community Comment. I also felt that no days in between Council Meetings and Work Sessions was counterproductive; I could not be as prepared as I could be if I was given an extra day or two to thoroughly go over anything and everything I deemed necessary for the Work Session. We are only given two of these per month to get together informally as an entire Council, and having time to go over the next meeting’s agenda and adding to it, as a key advantage of continuing Work Sessions during council meeting week would allow for any prospective changes to be submitted to Council Leadership before the following Council Meeting.
Strategic Operational Plan vs. Council Goals
As per this term’s recommendation, Council decided and voted to switch to a Strategic Operational Plan (SOP) rather than the past practice of “Council Goals.” The key difference between an SOP and the former Council Goals model is that an SOP implements strategies that can focus on longer term goals, that tend to go across multiple, and perhaps all future council terms. For example, the previous Council identified six goals for their respective term; however, the goals all inspired recommendations that will take several years to implement and utilize. The SOP organizes a larger framework model, that includes foundation for developing priorities and goals; can be used to provide objective measures, accountability and communication about specific goals.
The other benefit of the SOP is that its framework can correspond with the 2040 visioning process. Several aspects of community goals align with the Community Action Plan outlined in Imagine Corvallis 2040. The development of the SOP will be drafted by Staff and Council is planned to receive the initial draft in March. Council will then review and discuss and it is intended that the SOP may have a few iterations before its final product. There is also no measurable budget impact of the SOP, in the end the hope is that it will better organize and structure of the 2017-18 Council’s inspirations over the years to come. Although Staff will be key in providing measures, targets and action items in the SOP, Council will own it.
In the agenda for Ordinances and Resolutions, the Council voted to update the Climate Action Task Force, disbanded the Sustainable Budget Task Force and voted on a resolution to create the Community Action Plan and Implementation Plan Task Force in order to develop the next phase of Imagine Corvallis 2040.
Two other significant agenda items were (1) the scheduling of the Public Hearing for the Kings Blvd Extension per LUBA’s recent for February 6th @ 7:30pm and; (2) scheduling a Public Hearing for the Community Development Block Grant and HOME Action Plan for 2017-18 on January 17th @ 7:30pm.
WILLAMETTE PARK, ABANDONED CAMPS, CLEANUP & MORE
As many of you are aware, H&V sent out a letter to the community on January 4th outlining the future changes the company is making in regards of filtrating particulate matter at their glass plant facilities. As stated in the letter, H&V intends to begin the process of installing state of the art filtration technology which will eliminate about 99% of filterable particulate emissions. The prospective results of this new filtration include:
• Fluoride emissions will be significantly reduced.
• Overall water use will be reduced by more than 90%.
• The steam plume above the plant will be virtually eliminated.
• The noise level of the plant will be reduced.
All of these results are wonderful to the ears of the community that has been looking for answers in the way of mitigating particulate emissions. I met with Cindy Frost on January 18th to learn more about the “how” behind achieving these results. I was pleased to learn that the majority of these results stem from HV’s plans to convert Glass Plant 2 into their new and highly innovative DRY filtration facility. The new facility will hold new dry scrubbers similar to that of a “bag house,” Cindy described, except they will not be made of fabric. Each dry filtration system reduces intake from the river, relying on only the amount of water needed for cooling of respective motors. The other figure in the 10% of water usage left derives from the holding ponds used for the historical TCE cleanup.
Each new scrubber will be 36-40 feet in height, sized to the amount of air HV moves and “oversized for particulate matter.” The way it was described and shown to me, was that each scrubber’s containment component resembled that of a semi-truck container; it was in these elongated, box-shaped containers in which HEPA filtration of particulate matter will occur. The new construction of Glass Plant 2 will house these filtration system “containers.”
The new dry filtration process will allow for motors to be at ground level, sounding similar to the current scrubbers. However, because the size of the proposed filtration facility will be thru the roofline, HV has decided that building a new sound barrier along the fence line of Glass Plant 1 would help reduce noise to under 50 decibels.
The other recent innovation is HV’s new CO monitor, which is on the left corner of the main entrance as you enter (on your right as you drive out to Crystal Lake Dr.). HV has already done initial testing of the CO Monitor, and results have shown an average of .7 ppm, with a maximum reading of 1 ppm. It is important to understand that the new filtration facility is focused on particulate matter and not CO emissions. However, it was interesting to learn that HV’s 600 tons of CO emissions per year do not even rival that of Albany’s ATI, which averages around 5000 tons per year.Because the community is such a large piece of this puzzle, HV will be hosting three separate info
FIRST COUNCIL MEETING OF THE YEAR
After a recent joint-meeting with Parks & Recreation Director Karen Emery, Corvallis Police Chief Jon Sassaman and Police Captain Dan Hendrickson, I was brought up to speed regarding the protocols and process both departments are mandated to abide by, concerning illegal camping. Surprisingly, there is a substantial amount of time and effort that is required in the process of enforcing illegal campsites. From the required posting at the site of an illegal camp, to photograph-documenting, categorizing and storing abandoned property, and the actual cleanup efforts. Parks & Rec Director Karen Emery reminded that even though there is volunteer initiative to clean up illegal campsites, she can only allow for hazard-certified employees to physically clean up the sites because of the risk of health hazards. There is a significant liability that falls upon the City as well; because if anyone that is not a hazard-certified employee were to be harmed from the nature of cleaning up hazardous items…you can imagine how that plays out.
There are a few ways that initiate CPD to post illegal campsites. (1) Parks & Rec is notified by citizens of a camp/encampment OR they come across a camp during daily operations. Parks & Rec then refers it to CPD; (2) CPD is notified of a camp/encampment (3) camps/encampments are found during officer patrol. When CPD posts a 24 hr. notice for an illegal campsite, Parks and Rec is notified of the location and all documented abandoned personal property, unless of course, Parks & Rec was the one to be notified/found the site(s). Officers who post are required to take photos of the camp as it appears at time of posting, including all items at the site. Each camp then received a case number, which can be used as a receipt for claiming abandoned personal property. A case number is issued PER SITE; which means if there are 3 camps in close-quarters, 3 postings go up. If no one is at the camp at the time of posting, there is an extra 2 hours given before the enforcement of clean-up. When Parks & Rec initiates the cleanup, usually 24-26 hours after posting, the site and all items are once again documented via photograph in order to maintain accountability issues that may arise after the cleanup. Refuse and qualified abandoned property is then sorted out, and abandoned property is stored at a facility per either: Parks & Rec, Public Works or CPD. Abandoned personal property must meet requirements of ORS 203.079 (d): “…For purposes of this paragraph, "personal property" means any item that is reasonably recognizable as belonging to a person and that has apparent utility. Items that have no apparent utility or are in an insanitary condition may be immediately discarded upon removal of the homeless individuals from the camping site. Weapons, drug paraphernalia and items that appear to be either stolen or evidence of a crime shall be given to law enforcement officials.”
In a recent meeting with the wonderful head of Parks & Rec Operations, Jude Geist I was informed more to the details of the cleanup and storage of abandoned property process. I was happy to see how Parks & Rec keeps record of camps thru a very thorough spreadsheet system, including PowerPoint files which organize photographs of each cleanup. He also provided that there are three main types of camps: homeless camps, camps that are where illegal activities are carried out by those who are not in fact homeless, and dumping sites. Illegal activities in camps are mostly drug-related. Although the majority of all cleanups recover drug paraphernalia; needles, cotton balls, coolers (which store chemicals), etc. it is clear that camps devoted to these activities are just a temporary place to engage in illicit behaviors. There is also a substantial amount of dumpsites in which Parks & Rec does treat, catalog and cleanup as a campsite.
It is important that when Parks & Rec initiates a cleanup, that the staff have all been a part of Hazard Training. Mandatory boots and gloves are worn; needles and other paraphernalia is picked up with tongs, bio-hazards are absorbed with cat litter, and latrine areas are spread with lime to kill bio-hazardous bacteria. Parks & Rec also records the amount of garbage that is cleaned up at sites; either by weighing it on trips to the landfill or assessed by number of truck loads. All abandoned property that is identified with value is then recorded and stored at the Parks & Rec main office site. There are also items that may be deemed to be stored with CPD. The perpetuating issue of posting and cleanup is that once a site is cleaned up, campers often just move to another site; whether it is literally nearby or on the other end of town. Then the cycle begins again, and campers continue to move from one posted site, to another and to another. “We could keep staff busy; occupied every hour of every day just cleaning up camps,” said Jude Geist.
Solutions to such a complicated issue are complex. I personally wonder about the effectiveness of Porter Pots, more trash receptacles and if these had any proactive effect on the amount of dumping (trash and human waste). It has seemed that the past winters’ inclusion of having Porter Pots near these sites has had a positive effect on cleanups for Parks & Rec. However, it is noted that there is also another huge investment of staff time to maintain Porter Pots in park areas. For instance, the facilities in Central Park must be attended to multiple times daily. There have been issues of people taking up occupancy in Porter Pots, and this is another area that staff must stay on top of. All Porter Pots are serviced/dumped by the company (Buck’s) twice a week; per the annual contract. Jude Geist brought up the “Portland Loo” project, which are technologically innovated bathroom kiosks that eliminate several issues regarding maintenance and upkeep of Porter Pots. Though on the more expensive side to install, these “Portland Loos” have a small footprint, are made of stainless steel (easy to clean, including graffiti proofed) with open sides in order to see the feet of a user. This aspect is one to mitigate issues of kiosk-occupancy. More about these innovated “unique solutions to a universal problem” can be found here: http://theloo.biz/.
More trash receptacles and/or dumpsters is also a proposed solution that comes with issues. Parks & Rec workers already have to drive trash can to trashcan because: trash bags are heavy, usually at the least 50 lbs, which restricts employees to easily carry them to their trucks. Also, trash bags can have all types of sharp, contaminants, and bio-hazards in them, and if they were to rupture by Parks workers carrying them even a short distance, it is more effort than it is worth. A dumpster would pose the problem of illegal dumping, which would just be more of a burden on both Parks & Rec and Public Works.
Illegal camping is not going to just stop overnight, and staying on top of camp cleanups is already a challenge. I do not believe there is one simple answer, but perhaps several simple efforts may lead to mitigating larger cleanups next Fall.
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Tuesday, January 3, 2017 opened the new term to four new Councilors: Myself (Ward 3); Charlyn Ellis (Ward 5); Nancy Wyse (Ward 6); and Mark Page (Ward 8). As part of the first meeting’s agenda, Barbara Bull (Ward 4) was elected Council President and Penny York (Ward 1) was elected Vice President. All Councilors were also appointed to their respective Advisory Boards and Committees.I, myself was appointed to: Airport Advisory Board, the Legislative Committee, the Community Police Review Board, the Housing Opportunity Action Council, the Enterprise Zone Committee, and I am also the liaison to the Community Policing Advisory Board, filling the place of Mike Beilstein. Please feel free to click on the link to find all Councilor appointments and times of respective board, committee or council meetings.
H&V: THE ROAD TO POLLUTION SOLUTIONS
JANUARY & FEBRUARY 2017 CITY NEWS & CURRENT EVENTS
COMING SOON: UPCOMING ARTICLES THIS WEEK:
SOUTH CORVALLIS COMMUNITY INITIATIVE (LOOK FOR NEW PAGE UNDER ADVISORY BOARDS/COMMISSIONS)
COUNCIL MEETINGS & WORK SESSIONS (LOOK FOR NEW PAGES UNDER CITY NEW & CURRENT EVENTS)
SANCTUARY STATUS 2017
CITY BUDGET TALK (BUDGET COMMISSION PAGE UNDER ADVISORY BOARDS/COMMISSIONS)
COMMUNITY POLICING CORNER (COMM. POLICING ADVISORY BOARD PAGE UNDER ADVISORY BOARDS/COMMISSIONS)