Burns council pays respect to fellow councilor who passed away
by Randy Parks
There was a bit of a somber mood to begin the Burns City Council meeting Wednesday, Oct. 9, as Mayor Craig LaFollette asked for a moment of silence to honor Bill Renwick, a councilor of several years who passed away Oct. 6.
“It’s with a sad heart that we recognize Bill,” LaFollette said. “Bill served on council for years, and we looked to him for answers many times.”
LaFollette added that Renwick was council president, and with his passing, the council needed to elect a new president. LaFollette said Councilor Dan Hoke had talked to him about assuming the position, and with a vote of the council, Hoke was elected council president.
Renwick’s death also brought the total of vacant seats on the council to three, and LaFollette reported the city had received seven letters of interest from citizens willing to serve on the council.
La Follette asked that each candidate stand and introduce themselves to the council, and then stay around for a short while after the meeting for an informal get-together.
The candidates are Armin Williams, Brittany Nau, Jerry Woodfin, Brad Herrera, LouAnn Deiter, Boyce LaForrest and Nona Popham.
On Oct. 23, the next council meeting date, the five current members of the council will receive ballots with the seven candidates listed.
The councilors and mayor will each vote for three, and the three candidates receiving the most votes will take positions on the council.
City Manager (CM) Don Munkers reported an advertisement to re-open the city manager position had been drafted, and the position would remain open until filled.
Munkers stated the ad would be placed with the state employment department, local media and the League of Oregon Cities.
Munkers attended a meeting with Republican candidate for governor Dennis Richardson, and said he was fairly impressed with Richardson’s goals and ideas.
In closing his report, Munkers called attention to a single rose that was placed at Renwick’s vacant council seat, and paid tribute: “Then in memory of Bill Renwick, We see one rose that stands for the solidarity each of us should strive for in public service; we see one rose that stands for the strength exhibited by one man believing in his causes; and the one rose stands for the fact that one man who believes, can make a difference in many lives. To Bill, who is being watched over by the immortals now, but who is here with us always, for life and death are one thread, the same line viewed from different sides.”
Cheryl Foster and Treva Spence, representing Xi Delta Gamma sorority, were in attendance to ask the council for permission to close one block of East Washington Street Oct. 19 for the Chili Cookoff.
The council gave their approval to close the street for the event, and signs will be put out the night before to prevent vehicles from parking in the cookoff area.
During the citizens’ concerns portion of the meeting, Ronnie Carroll told the council he had concerns about the number of ATVs, golf carts, lawn mowers and other non-licensed vehicles on city streets.
He added that there are still a number of junk cars around town, and he’d, “love to see the city cleaned up.”
Carroll said that there are other residents who have complaints, but they fear retaliation.
CM Munkers explained that if a resident has a complaint, they can fill out a form at city hall, and it will then be passed on to police, the fire department and the code enforcement officer to be addressed.
Carroll also asked about the intersection of North Grand and Highway 20, where a “Do Not Enter” sign is posted for vehicles traveling from Hines to Burns.
Carroll said he frequently sees cars making a left-hand turn off the highway onto North Grand, in violation of the posted sign, and wondered if there should be a “No Left Turn” sign put up as well.
Public Works Director Dave Cullens explained that the Oregon Department of Transportation has direction over that, as it is a state highway.
In other business:
• the council voted to make a $100 donation to Harney Partners for Kids and Families for Red Ribbon Week activities;
• Mayor LaFollette read aloud a city of Burns proclamation, recognizing October as Aviation Appreciation Month;
• Councilor Terri Presley stated a safety committee meeting had been held, and they would like to ask residents to keep a three-foot diameter area around fire hydrants clear of any objects or brush. “The hydrants need to be accessible in case of a fire,” Presley said;
• Councilor Dan Hoke said the cemetery committee has an opportunity to apply for a grant to establish a veterans area at the cemetery.
Hoke said they would partner with a veterans organization to apply for the grant, and they would need a project manager.
Hoke said the grant would be a “significant” amount, and they already meet a lot of the criteria.
The next council meeting is scheduled for 6 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 23, at city hall.