by Lindy Williams
At the regularly scheduled meeting of the Hines Common Council on Tuesday, Feb. 14, the council discussed the Police Reserve Program and appointed a council president and budget officer.
Councilor Diane Rapaport was elected as the council president. She was nominated by Rod Bennett and elected unanimously. City Administrator Judy Erwin was elected unanimously as the budget officer.
The councilors discussed the Police Reserve Program with Police Chief Ryan DeLange. DeLange stated that, with the rise of cases, his department needs help and a reserve officer could help in alleviating some overtime hours, especially on weekends. He also stated that there was available grant funding for a School Resource Officer (SRO), and mentioned that it would be perfect work for reserve officer. After a discussion concerning training, compensation, firearms, provided equipment, the hiring process, and logistics, the council voted unanimously to reinstate the program. The Police Reserve Program will resume on July 1, at the beginning of the new budget year.
Police Chief DeLange reported a busy February. He stated that there had already been three domestic assaults, one stolen car, a rape, three sex abuse cases, and a stabbing. He also stated that they were having trouble with junior high and high school students vaping.
“At this point, the state of Oregon does not have an MIP law in place. So I have been to a couple meetings with Senator Wyden and he had no idea that that was not a law in the state of Oregon,” DeLange said. He stated that the problem with vape pens and e-cigarettes is that there are no regulations concerning what goes into them. He is hoping that laws are passed soon to regulate them.
DeLange stated that he had attended an executive conference in Seaside and there are still no answers why the state hasn’t released the $45 million from marijuana tax sales to the Oregon State Police.
He spoke about visiting the high school for a drug presentation with Chief Skunkcap, Detective Tiller, and Officer Pilon. What was supposed to be a 35-minute presentation turned into an hour and a half because of the numerous questions the students asked. DeLange was pleased with the interaction and hopeful that the departments had educated and informed.
DeLange reported that the state of Oregon is trying to change methamphetamine charges from a felony to a misdemeanor.
“The sheriff’s association and the chief’s association are borderline on board with it because of the overpopulation of prisons. But that’s going to create a huge problem for everybody if that actually goes through,” DeLange said. He said there are drug-free communities fighting this and he hopes that they are successful.
“My concern right now, regardless of the overpopulation of prisons, is methamphetamine is so cheap and so easy to make, what are our high school kids going to do? What kinds of doors is that going to open for our youth?” He asked.
DeLange also reported that Officer Novak has four weeks left in the academy.
Fire Chief Bob Spence reported nine calls since the last Hines Common Council meeting. He stated that none of the calls were too serious and that most of the calls had had to do with collapsed roofs. He said that they’d been called out to a downed power line at the forest service, a water leak at the hospital, and burning towel that had been left inside the baker’s oven at Thriftway.
Acting Public Works Superintendent Jerry Lewellen stated that his department had been dealing with an excessive amount of snow. Mayor Nikki Morgan thanked him for continuously plowing snow. Lewellen stated that they were still working on completely clearing some of the side streets, but that they were making progress. He commented that, with the warming weather, the water runoff was quickly filling the lagoons.
Lewellen also stated that he’d spoken with Brandon Mahon from the Oregon Water Resources Department concerning the current water meter system and potentially updating the meters in the master water plan. He also spoke to Mahon about incorporating an automatic sprinklers system into the city parks as automatic systems conserve water and money when compared to manually moving the sprinklers. The councilors thanked him for bringing up the issues to Mahon.
Lewellen then briefed the councilors on Hines’ drainage systems.
City Administrator Erwin recounted a budget workshop she’d attended in Sherwood. Then, she attended City Day at the Capitol in Salem where they went through the legislation that is currently in process. Erwin stated that the delay in the distribution of marijuana funds has been caused by the distribution formula. She said that state officials have predicted that the first payout will come in August, but the process was still uncertain.
Erwin stated that she’d met with the Flood Response Team to mitigate flooding issues in the event of a quick snow melt. The county has received 30,000 sandbags, and hopes to have 10,000 filled and sent out as soon as they are needed. Volunteers who would like to help should go to city hall to fill out the proper forms. Councilor Loren Emang also mentioned that the sandbag filling station is located at the fairgrounds.
Erwin stated that there were openings on the city budget committee and that anyone interested in filling the positions should contact her as soon as possible as she hopes to start the process the beginning of March.
Erwin also wished to revise her previous statement in the Burns Times-Herald where she stated that the sidewalks were the Oregon Department of Transportation’s (ODOT) responsibility.
“Turns out, they’re not. The sidewalks are the responsibility of the property owner whose property the sidewalk runs through, not ODOT,” Erwin said.
To end the meeting, Mayor Nikki Morgan appointed Councilor Ron Williams and Councilor Raymond Breshears to Water and Sewer, Councilor Rod Bennett and Councilor Emang to Police and Fire, and Councilor Robert Beers and Councilor Rapaport to Parks and Streets.
In other business, the council:
• approved a $100 donation to the Rocky Mt. Elk Foundation;
• approved a $125 donation to Diamonds in a Glass;
• approved a request from the Hines Police Department to send Officer Roxanne Ellis to the Oregon Child Forensic Interview training course, April 4-7, in Eugene. This course is mandatory for child sex abuse cases;
• approved a request from the Hines Police Department to send Officer Ellis to the annual Child Abuse Summit in Portland, April 11-14;
• approved a request from the Maintenance Department to send Lee Thumberg to OAWU 39th Annual Management & Technical Conference in Sunriver March 6-10;
• approved a request from the Hines Fire Department to send three firefighters to the Pumper Operator Class, March 18-19 and April 1-2.
• approved the business license applications of Cannisan LLC, Sprocket Property Management, Valley Golf Club, and Stalcup Construction and Design.
The next Hines Common Council meeting will be held on March 14, at 6:30 p.m.