March 13, 2018 5:00 a.m.
The Roseburg City Council covered a wide range of issues during a marathon three and a half hour meeting on Monday night.
Councilors agreed to provide $20,000 from the Hotel/Motel Tax Fund to allow staff to get assistance with a Directional/Wayfinding Signage Design and Implementation project. Community Development Director Stuart Cowie told councilors that last summer the city applied for a $25,000 grant from Travel Oregon in an effort to develop the placement of wayfinding signs throughout the city. Cowie said the idea is to develop a common theme or architectural feature to help promote the city’s identity and provide directions for those trying to find their way around. While the grant application was not successful, Cowie said the project still has value. The idea drew strong objections from Council President Tom Ryan. Ryan said there was “no reason to spend the money”. The rest of the council disagreed. Councilor John McDonald said that consistency is important and he would like to see even more money put into the effort. Ashley Hicks said city signs need attention and pushed for a consistency of image in how they look. Brian Prawitz said providing the money was a logical start to moving forward on improving signage. Information from staff said the project had the support of groups such as Bike Walk Roseburg, Blue Zones, and the Umpqua Economic Development Partnership. The council approved the request on a 6-1 vote.
The council received a Transportation Network Company Update from City Recorder Sheila Cox. Cox has been looking at information about how companies like Uber and Lyft operate and are regulated around the state. At the last meeting, councilors received input from a number of community members supportive of the newer ride sharing options. Cox said Oregon is one of only five states in the nation that do not address riding sharing through statewide regulations. She said cities around the state have a wide variety of rules that govern how the newer ride options work. Tom Ryan called for a work study session on the issue saying more information is needed before the council can make a decision on how to regulate ride sharing in the city. Steve Kaser said he wanted to learn more about how other cities are handling the issue as well. Most other councilors agreed though Ashley Hicks pushed for a faster decision on the question. Mayor Larry Rich wrapped up the discussion calling on staff to research the matter further and schedule a work study session at a later date.
Monday night the council received the yearly report on the work of the Roseburg Visitor’s Center in marketing the city to potential tourists. Councilors agreed to have staff apply for a grant from the Oregon Parks and Recreation Department to help fund around $215,000 in improvements at Beulah Park. Councilors awarded a contract of just under $600,000 for the second phase of work on the technology that controls the city’s water system and water treatment plant. Councilors also had a presentation on the work of the Blue Zones Project.
The council meeting began an hour early with a work session and update on council goals.