The Blue Mountain eagle. (John Day, Or.) 1972-current, February 19, 2020, Page 3, Image 3

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Wednesday, February 19, 2020
John Day aims to complete street projects in 2020
By Rudy Diaz
Blue Mountain Eagle
John Day plans to com-
plete road projects and pro-
vide additional parking this
Parking lots at city hall,
the former Wright Chevro-
let lot and the Seventh Street
Complex, along with Cha-
rolais Heights intersection
improvements and Fourth
Avenue repairs, were dis-
cussed during the city coun-
cil meeting Feb. 18.
“We are going to work
through the design for the
city hall parking and parking
at the former Wright Chev-
rolet, and we are going to try
and budget for those parking
areas to be improved start-
ing next fiscal year, some-
time after
July,” John
Nick Green
John Day
City Manager grated Park
Nick Green
S y s t e m
Grant, pav-
ing the Seventh Street Com-
plex parking area will be
completely funded and will
be completed in the summer,
Green said.
Heights intersection, sur-
veyors and engineers are
going to start marking, and
the city will complete any
acquisitions needed to start
construction in the sum-
mer, he said. The improve-
Eagle file photo
The lot next to John Day City Hall is owned by the city, which
plans to pave the lot and make improvements this year.
ments will be partially
funded by the $100,000
Small City Allotment grant
from Oregon Department of
The five requests for pro-
posal will go out later this
month, and bids will be due in
mid-March, according to the
meeting agenda.
John Day City Coun-
cilor Elliot Sky asked what
the design was for the Cha-
rolais Heights intersection
“The Charolais Heights
road will curve tighter and
come across Boulder Lane
so they are directly across
from each other and create
what would be a four-way
stop, except we are remov-
ing the stop sign at Valley
View,” Green said. “It would
just be stops for the intersec-
tion of Charolais and Boul-
der, and Valley View would
be a through street, and
Davis Creek would curve
back to create more sepa-
ration between those two
Elevation will also be
addressed by creating a con-
tinuous slope traveling up
Valley View, Green said.
The council also discussed
the timeline for Highway 395
South sidewalk improve-
ments, for which final design
acceptance is scheduled in
May, Green said. Bid open-
ing is planned for March 11,
2021, with construction start-
ing that year.
John Day City Councilor
Steve Schuette asked Green
if the city still plans to install
restrooms at the city hall park-
ing area and former Wright
Chevrolet lot.
“We are going to stub util-
ities for restrooms, but I am
not going to try to squeeze
that (restrooms) into the bud-
get,” Green said. “If we can
get it regraded and the park-
ing open, that will be the first
step. Then we can put the
restrooms in later.”
Growing the recreational economy in John Day
By Rudy Diaz
Blue Mountain Eagle
John Day is looking at
developing their recreational
economy after being one of
10 communities nationwide
accepted for a federal planning
The Environmental Pro-
tection Agency announced in
October that John Day was
selected for the Recreation
Economy for Rural Communi-
ties planning grant. One work
group call is scheduled for
Feb. 19 and two work group
calls are scheduled in March.
April 21-22 will be a two-day
workshop to discuss what rec-
reational activities exist in the
“The focus of this effort is
to answer the question of are
we capturing enough value or
are we doing enough to bene-
fit our residents with that rec-
reational economy?” John Day
City Manager Nick Green said.
“Specifically positioning John
Day and Main Street as a gate-
way to the Malheur National
Forest and the public road
plans that are available to our
Green started the conver-
sation discussing recreational
opportunities with ATVs and
the process necessary to get the
ball rolling on that idea.
“You can buy ATVs in John
Day, but you can’t rent them in
John Day,” Green said. “You
can’t take people on guided
tours with ATVs in the Mal-
heur National Forest unless
you have a permit to do so,
and in order to get there from
John Day, you can’t drive on
highways so there are pieces
and parts that we can address
through policy changes. There
are specific policy things that
we can recommend to promote
Green added that this same
conversation can be applied to
other activities such as snow-
mobiles, hiking excursions,
fishing and wildlife and more.
Along with creating addi-
tional activities, this effort can
also create small businesses
that can be helped by Oregon
RAIN, Green said.
A steering committee will
come up with recreational
activities and present them to
the city council, and the city
will prioritize the ideas. Mem-
bers of the steering committee
will have different individual
focuses that highlight the rec-
reation economy, health and
wellness, fishing and wildlife,
education, arts and culture and
regional opportunities.
The grant has specific focus
areas for the steering commit-
tee to consider such as seasonal
recreation opportunities, event
hosting, startup opportunities,
in-city camping and hospital-
ity and expanding opportuni-
ties for outdoor recreation.
“This is about more than
making maps and brochures,”
Green said. “That by itself does
not do much for the economy
so we got people who are doing
that, but we would take it to
the next level, which would be
you would have a concierge in
a hotel lobby and direct people
to where they can learn more on
where to book a tour or rent.”
The next step is figuring out
priorities for recreation. While
there is no dollar value asso-
ciated with the grant, Green
said, they will receive help
from a planning team to con-
sider challenges and opportu-
nities for the recreational activ-
ities prioritized and develop an
action plan.
The city council then dis-
cussed allowing short-term
vacation rentals within the city
limits to have less restrictive
requirements. Associate Plan-
ner Daisy Goebel shared with
the council that there have been
complaints and confusion from
property owners who wanted
to rent out their homes.
“The problem is that our
restriction on (short-term rent-
als) are confusing and restric-
tive,” Goebel said. “Currently,
if you wanted to rent your
house out for any amount of
time, you need to apply for a
conditional use permit, which
is a $500 fee. A notice would
go out to your neighbors, and
then you would have to come
before the planning commis-
sion to state your case and have
a business license.”
Goebel added that this pro-
cess has not been feasible for
people, and many people have
decided to host short-term rent-
als illegally and register on
Airbnb without going through
the city for a license. The coun-
cil was in favor of a hybrid plan
that would enforce requiring a
business license, while see-
ing where restrictions could be
lifted. Goebel also talked about
the transient room tax collected
from occupants staying in the
county overnight.
“You have to contact the
county, let them know, and
then provide statements every
year saying how many times
you rented out,” Goebel said.
“I think the county is going to
pursue doing the tax through
Airbnb because you can con-
tact them and let them know
what the transient room tax is,
and then they will payout in the
back end.”
No decision was made,
but planning will continue on
drafting a code amendment.
Green then discussed the
possibility of adding a Com-
munity Development Director
who would hold a position as
a department head that would
oversee the planning depart-
ment, Main Street department
and the community develop-
ment fund.
“We have had a lot of vol-
unteers start things and not fin-
ish them because they are not
resource sufficient so their
ability to invest time fluctuates
based on their availability and
other demands in their lives,”
Green said.
Councilor Shannon Adair
said, as a business owner on
Main Street, she has partic-
ipated in discussions where
many good ideas were brought
up but never acted on. Adair
said a leader or paid director
that can dedicate time to lead
meetings and create a move-
ment on those ideas could help
increase the profitability of
Main Street.
While Councilor Steve
Schuette agreed with the idea,
he added that it might not be
the right time due to finances.
“I think that we need to get
some of the projects that we
got on burners further along
before we start spending up to
$100,000 in health insurance
and all that stuff,” Schuette
said. “I think we might be
stretching ourselves too thin.”
The council planned to
reassess the proposal during
the budgeting process.
Hello Grant County,
Well, if you believe that groundhog, Spring
is right around the corner. It sure didn’t look
like it with 9 inches of snow the other day!
Thanks to everyone who helped move all that
snow so we could get around safely!
Today, it is gorgeous outside! The weather is
such a tease! Just be assured that good weather
is on the way. We can look forward to many
beautiful days because this is Grant County!
The Chamber is proud to announce that we
have more new members: The Grant County
Library Foundation, and Sage Designworks
from Burns. Welcome!
Our February Business of the Month is The
Grubsteak Mining Company. Be sure to stop
in for a great meal and say hi to Carol and her
The February Chamber business meeting
and luncheon will be held on Thursday,
February 20th. The business meeting starts
at 10:30 at the Chamber office and the
Luncheon is at noon at the Outpost. This
month’s speaker is Donna Lowry.
The Chamber Board and committees
have been busy! The Marketing committee
is working on a logo and brand for Grant
County. Thank you to all of you who
completed the online survey!
The Conestoga Wagon improvement is
coming along. If you aren’t advertising at the
wagon and would like to, please let us know as
soon as possible.
The High Desert League Basketball
Tournament will be played at Grant Union
High School February 20-22. This always
brings a lot of people to town, so let’s show
them some Grant County hospitality. Go
cheer on our local teams if you get a chance.
Have you noticed we have a couple of ad
spots available around our newsletter? If you
are interested in being a sponsor, please let us
know. We would love to have your support!
We also have some advertising spots available
on our Chamber website.
Have you heard that Cycle Oregon is coming
to town September 12th for Ride the Painted
Hills Classic? The ride will start and end in
John Day with overnight stops in Monument
and Dayville. There is going to be a lot to do
to get ready for this big event, so stay tuned!
Our Story
Since the 1970s, Grubsteak Mining
Company Bar and Grill has been the
go-to destination for anyone in town
looking for a delicious meal. We’re
serving up every dish to order so you
You With Local
Businesses In More
Ways Than Ever!
can always count on great flavor.
Our burgers, fries and steaks are
all seasoned and cooked to deliver
delicious flavor in every bite. In fact,
people even say we have the best
burgers in the county. You’ll also find
a diverse beer selection with rotating
options, making it easy to try new ones.
Remember to Shop Local!
Tammy Bremner
Manager, Grant County Chamber of
Grubsteak Mining Company