Mayor takes part in refuge planning
Without many items on the agenda, the regular meeting of the Burns City Council on Wednesday, Feb. 24, was fairly brief.
Amanda Pruitt was in attendance and told the council she’d like to see more community events taking place. She mentioned that there used to be a hot air balloon rally in town, and she’d like to see that event held again. Pruitt said she talked with some hot air balloon pilots in Reno, Nev., and they would like to come to Burns for a rally if it could get organized. Pruitt added that there could also be sock hops, roller skating and other events.
“It would be an uplifting experience for the community, and we need something like that right now,” she said.
During the councilor comments portion of the meeting, Councilor Jerry Woodfin stated the community used to hold a lot of different activities, and he’d like to get those events going again, and get more people involved in fun activities.
Mayor Craig LaFollette said one of the reasons the events dwindled is because of a lack of involvement and volunteers from the community.
“People need to step up and get involved,” LaFollette said.
LaFollette told the council he attended a meeting with other public leaders earlier in the day to discuss the post-occupation plan for the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge.
LaFollette said the first phase of the plan was to secure and catalog evidence from the refuge, which has now been completed.
The next phase is to inspect and inventory the collection of data.
The third phase is to assess the damage done to the refuge, and repair the damage. This phase would allow help from volunteers.
Finally, the refuge returns to normal operations, and it is believed the refuge will be ready for visitors in time for the annual bird festival in early April.
The group plans to hold more meetings to discuss how the plan is working.
In other business:
• the council appointed City Manager Dauna Wensenk as the budget officer for fiscal year 2016-2017;
• Public Works Director Pedro Zabala said his department had been busy cleaning the streets and grading some roads;
• Officer Robby Tiller stated Burns Police officers are teaming up with the two new Hines Police officers occasionally to help train them. He added that the town is continuing to “get back to normal” after the refuge occupation;
• Councilor Charity Robey said she was disappointed to see one of the new billboards showing support for Harney County had already been vandalized.
The next council meeting is scheduled for 6 p.m. Wednesday, March 9, at city hall.