Trash Clean-Up: The City of Corvallis is moving forward with a plan that would address the surplus of trash and discarded items in public rights-of-way and on public property.
At the April 3 council meeting, the council directed City Manager Mark Shepard and city staff to contact Oregon Department of Transportation, ODOT, railroads, other governmental agencies, and non-governmental agencies to coordinate a more assertive and pro-active approach in cleaning up discarded items and trash in the public rights-of-way on public property, ODOT property, railroad right-of-way, or near and in the public waterways.
At Their April 17 Meeting: In a vote of 7-1, the council passed a motion to put a system in place with these agencies to tackle the ongoing trash problem with funds from the trash and sanitation services grant awarded to the city by the state. Councilor Charlyn Ellis was the sole no vote.
Ellis Concerned for Homeless: “I believe that councilor Yee is doing this from a good and positive place. I do, however, have concerns about the motion. Having been out on the sort team, it is sometimes hard to distinguish where somebody is living and where somebody is not living,” said Councilor Ellis. “I think the problem is it’s going to be very difficult to determine what is abandoned trash in some places and what is part of somebody’s living situation. I can’t support this because of that.”
Several community members shared the same concerns during the meeting over how this will impact the houselessness populations and camping sites.
Councilor Bria Lewis moved to change the wording “assertive” to “mindful” in the motion to help address this concern, which ultimately failed. The motion was then brought back to Councilor Tracey Yee who moved to remove the word assertive all together which passed 7-1.
“A lot of the concerns, which I get is, how this will be carried out and I get it. I think we all agree that the discarded trash is a health risk, and we need to take proactive action. I want ongoing consistent work on this and not just when we get complaints and when people can see it. The focus is on the trash and not people. I never once mentioned camps or people,” said Councilor Yee who brought the original motion to the council. “We have to coordinate with ODOT and the railroads because they own public property, and we need coordination with them to help keep these areas consistently clean.”
Councilors discussed putting out trash receptacles and having a consistent schedule in place for certain parts of the city and stated this is the start of an ongoing effort.
New Free Fire Engine: The Corvallis Fire Department was the recipient of a new fire engine as part of a $25 million statewide program. The Oregon Office of the State Fire Marshall issued equipment to 76 fire agencies statewide as part of the program.
The new engine awarded to the department is a Type 6 wildland fire engine. Corvallis Fire Department currently operates three Type 3 engines and three Type 6 fire engines. Four of these wildland engines are owned by the Corvallis Rural Fire Protection District but are operated by CFD.
The new engine will be owned by OSFM but operated by CFD via an intergovernmental agreement, according to a release from the city.
“I’m grateful to the Oregon Office of the State Fire Marshal for awarding Corvallis a new Type 6 engine through the engine program,” said Corvallis Fire Chief Ben Janes. “This new vehicle will help increase our capabilities locally in Corvallis, particularly in our rural service area, and will give us the ability to assist other smaller agencies in Benton County and to participate in state conflagrations and still provide wildfire protection here at home.”
The engine will be custom-built by Skeeter Emergency Vehicles, based in Hillsboro, Texas, with delivery anticipated in late 2023 or early 2024.
By Jennifer Williams