Government: Illness Cancels Tonight’s Police Cityspeak, Community Development Update, Storm Water Permitting, West Hills and JSIP Check-ins

Illness Cancels Tonight’s CitySpeak: Today, Police Chief Nick Hurley informed CitySpeak staff that he has fallen ill and would need to reschedule this evening’s town hall. 

Chief Hurley is slated to retire at the end of the year, and his replacement, Captain Jason Harvey, was also scheduled to appear this evening. According to CitySpeak staff, Captain Harvey plans to appear later, alongside Chief Hurley. 

Community Development Briefs Board of Commissioners: At the Benton County Board of Commissioners’ meeting on Wednesday, Nov. 9, Community Development discussed ongoing concerns and department updates.  

While Community Development leaders described themselves as operating in a much better position with additional Community Development Technicians and a new Development Coordinator having recently been hired, they voiced an ongoing concern about the need to work closer with partnering agencies and contractors. Specifically, they said Conservation Easement Requirements and Urban Development Plans must be communicated better and evaluated.  

While a specific date was not announced, an Open Forum Meeting will be scheduled as part of this Community Development outreach. 

Problems Anticipated with New Storm Water Permit Requirements: Department leaders expressed deep concerns with recent changes to the Storm Water Permit Requirements. Storm Water Permits have now been mandated for every quarter acre vs. the previous requirement of one acre.  Multiple participants in Wednesday’s forum said this will trigger significant challenges to meet this new threshold requirement. Among those challenges will be a potential for further staffing shortages and timeline changes to all projects currently under development in Benton County and those moving forward.   

Public Works Says All is Working Well: Benton County engineer Laurel Byer provided the Board of Commissioners with updates on two projects.  

Active engagement was said to be underway with West Hills Neighborhood Association leader Daniel Woods to ensure a pathway is integrated into the West Hills Corridor Improvements. Dec. 10 is the tentative date of completion.  

Additionally, updates were provided on the Justice System Improvement Program (JSIP). The piece of the proposed Justice System Complex that is slated to assist people with mental health crises has been pushed off to 2024 – an additional 18 months beyond the early 2023 date last mentioned. The County has secured $7.7 million in funding toward this center, including $5.45 million from state budget, $1.25 million in American Rescue Plan funding, and $1 million from the federal budget. 

Taking possession of the property in North Corvallis through eminent domain has moved another step forward. A judge has now been assigned to rule on whether or not the claim can be made that the property is critical to the project and a decision may be provided soon. 

By Dominic Haberman 

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