City Council Work Session - Minutes
Mayor Drotzmann called the work session meeting to order at 6:00 pm. Present were Councilors Myers, Gutierrez, Primmer, Hardin, Kirwan, and Smith. Councilors Beas-Fitzgerald and Davis were excused. Staff members in attendance were City Manager Byron Smith, Assistant City Manager Mark Morgan, Chief Edmiston, Clinton Spencer, Bill Schmittle, Roy Bicknell, and Lilly Alarcon-Strong. News media present were Jade Mc Dowell of the East Oregonian and Michael Kane of NE Oregon Now.
City Manager Byron Smith stated the City receives complaints on a regular basis stating there is not enough parking in the downtown area. Although the City is working on Downtown Revitalization and this would create more spaces, the City wanted to take a more proactive approach on parking in the downtown area.
Assistant City Manager Mark Morgan stated there is a perceived conception that there is a lack of parking spaces in the downtown area, but by viewing Google Earth photos of the downtown parking area from the last 10 years, it shows that there are plenty of regularly unused parking spaces. Assistant City Manager Morgan presented the photos to the Council and explained that many parking stalls are not being utilized specifically because they are parallel parking spaces and most people do not want to or feel uncomfortable parallel parking, and others improperly parallel park, therefore, not allowing maximum parking to be utilized.
Assistant City Manager Morgan presented the Council with options to maximize downtown parking by considering removing some parallel parking stalls and replacing them with angled parking stalls. Angled parking stalls would be proposed on E. Gladys Ave., in between NE 2nd St. and NE 3rd St.; one side of E Main St., in between Hwy 395 and NE 2nd St.; and one side of NE 2nd St., in between E. Main St. and E. Orchard Ave. Angled parking stalls would create one to three more parking spaces in each area they are implemented in, and usually people do not feel intimidated to park in angled parking stalls compared to parallel parking spaces so each parking stall would allow maximum parking to be utilized.
Assistant City Manager Morgan stated staff would like to get a consensus from the Council on whether or not to proceed with this project. If the Council would like City staff to move forward, staff would have a recommendation ready at the next City Council meeting.
The Council discussed possible issues with angled parking to include stalls not being long enough to accommodate larger vehicles, but agreed that angled parking would be ideal to help create more parking stalls. Council also thought it would be ideal to have employees of downtown business’s park furthest away from buildings to optimize parking for customers, but stated ultimately it would be up to each business to establish those requirements for their staff. Council directed City staff to move forward with the recommendation.
Dates to Remember
City Manager Smith stated the Day at the Capital will be Feb 8th, and asked that the Council notify Executive Assistant Lilly Alarcon-Strong, if any Councilors who would like to attend. Mr. Smith stated he will also try to meet with Representative Smith and Senator Hansell.
City Manager Smith stated he has not received any negative feedback to hold the Goal Setting Session on Saturday, Feb 11th. Please plan on attending from 9:00am to 3:00pm in Council Chambers. The Chambers Distinguished Citizen Award will be held on Wednesday, February 1st. The City is sponsoring a table. Council members interested in attending please notify Executive Assistant Lilly Alarcon-Strong. The County Fair Appreciation Dinner will be Saturday, January 28th at 6:00pm at EOTEC. All Council members are invited to attend.
Mayor Drotzmann stated the Hermiston Education Foundation is also having their Crab Feed on Saturday, Feb 4th at 5:00pm.
Mayor Drotzmann ended the work session at 6:37pm. The Councilors took a short break before the regular City Council meeting convened at 7:00 pm.