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Roseburg City Council shows support of allied, mental health college

The Roseburg City Council unanimously decided to prepare a letter of support, which includes financial commitments, for a proposed allied and mental health college during its special city council meeting Wednesday.

“This is a project that will help the city and make a difference in the city in more ways than one; the restaurants, the several hundred students, the faculty, the housing, the restaurants everything down there,” Roseburg City Councilor Tom Ryan said.

Ryan then made the motion to write a letter of support relating the city’s financial involvement in the college and support for the Oregonians for Rural Health in raising the balance of the remaining money to develop the project.

Roseburg’s latest investment would equal $400,000. The total cost of building another college in Roseburg is estimated to be around $40 million, city manager Lance Colley said.

“Everything that we can do with development, with infrastructure will help offset the cost and be a valuable component in moving the project forward,” Colley said. “This is the most significant potential economic and community development opportunity that the city has had an opportunity to participate in.”

The city has been working with ORH and other local organizations to establish the college. A memorandum of understanding was signed between ORH and George Fox University in late February to explore building the college in Roseburg.

City staff has been working with ORH, Rep. Gary Leif, R-Roseburg, State Sen. Dallas Heard, R-Winston, and other local and regional governments to determine the financial support necessary for the project. According to Colley and several community members in attendance, a strong community backing would help secure funding from legislators.

Legislators will ask for $20 million for the project, and further funding is expected from federal and state grants, philanthropy and a variety of other sources. Roseburg will help to support or participate in potential grant processes with partners.

The city council funded the project with $30,000 in early concept stage development work, another $15,000 in 2016, and authorized an additional $25,000 in March to support funding for an economic study to assess the viability and need for the college.

“Several councils ago in a galaxy far, far away. I think (councilor) Bob (Cotterell) was here and (mayor) Larry (Rich) was here and I was here. We passed that first $30,000,” Ryan said. “The director at that time gave this about a 10 to 15% chance and we still voted to give the $30,000 and it wasn’t unanimous, and we did catch some hell in the newspaper, but that’s all our involvement as a council.”

City councilor Ashley Hicks did not attend Wednesday’s special meeting.

Representatives from ORH and George Fox identified a property in the area of Northwest Stewart Parkway, Renann Street and Northwest Edenbower Boulevard to build the college, to be close to medical facilities as well as the Roseburg Veterans Affairs Medical Center.

ORH paid the other half of the cost for the economic study. Preliminary results of that study are expected by the end of this month, with a final report in May.

Wayne Patterson, executive director of The Partnership for Economic Development in Douglas County, did not want to speculate on what the results of that study might be.

Stewart Park Drive bridge gets a closer examination

Bridge inspectors got up close and personal with the Stewart Park Drive bridge Wednesday, searching for any potential structural issues with the narrow, green steel structure built in 1946.

A crew from the Oregon Bridge Engineering Company, based in Eugene, was in place at 8 a.m. Wednesday to begin the inspection.

But questions about the load limit for the inconic bridge delayed the inspection about two hours.

When the inspectors discovered the load limit on the bridge was 12 tons and the Oregon Department of Transportation cherry-picker truck was rated for 68,000 pounds, they had to check with engineers at ODOT in Salem to see if it was safe to take the truck onto the bridge. At about 10 a.m., they finally were able to begin their work.

The Oregon Bridge Engineering Company inspects the state’s bridges every two years on behalf of ODOT, using ODOT equipment to examine the underside of the structure and the pillars to see if there has been any deterioration.

“Every other year, they do this, they go through and check the condition of the bridge and document it for all the bridges in town,” said Rick Castle, engineer technician for the City of Roseburg.

Roseburg Public Works Director Nikki Messenger said ODOT does the inspections every couple of years for all the local bridges in the state to make sure they’re safe.

“They will take a look at the structural sufficiency to make sure there’s not a ton of scour going on in the river, and things like that, they want to make sure they don’t need to lower the amount of weight that can cross it,” Messenger said.

The 73-year-old, two-lane structure, which is barely wide enough to accommodate passing vehicles, is scheduled for an overhaul in 2022.

“For the green bridge, we actually got a grant from ODOT recently to rehabilitate, but that’s not until 2022, when the money will come through,” Messenger said.

Meanwhile, the bridge was closed most of the day Wednesday as the crew looked for any problems. Traffic had to find an alternate route around Stewart Park Drive, which crosses the South Umpqua River just north of the Fir Grove School into the south entrance to the VA Medical Center.

After the inspection, ODOT will put together a report with any recommendations and send it to the city to determine if it needs to take any action.

Glide Company fined for hazardous waste disposal

Caddock Electronics in Glide was fined $7,000 for improper disposal of hazardous waste by the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality.

The fine reported on Wednesday came after a follow-up inspection almost one year after the department found a list of violations in the high performance film resistor products manufacturing facility in May. The company is in the process of appealing the penalty and fine.

The company released a statement on Wednesday refuting the findings from the department.

“Based on that inspection we were presented by the DEQ with Findings and a Penalty that we believe needed clarifications in order to correctly represent the description presented in the Findings and to correctly evaluate the Penalty,” the release said.

The company was fined for “disposing of a small amount of hazardous waste in the trash, and for failing to determine whether spent sandblast waste was hazardous,” according to the notice sent on March 13.

“DEQ issued this penalty because proper disposal of hazardous waste, and accurate hazardous waste determinations of every waste stream, are essential to ensure safe management of hazardous wastes,” the notice read.

The business was on a monthly list of violators with 14 other Oregon companies. It was the only one in Douglas County to receive a fine from the department in March.

“This is standard procedure for DEQ,” department spokesperson Laura Gleim said. “It’s part of our compliance and enforcement process.”

As of May, the company reported to the department that it generated 220 to 2,200 pounds of hazardous waste monthly. In May, inspectors found tetrachloroethylene still bottoms in the regular trash, spent sandblast from cleaning equipment in non-hazardous waste disposals, open containers of contaminated waste and mislabelling hazardous waste.

The notice shows the company made efforts to address the violations and took that into consideration when assigning the penalty fine amount.

The business had 20 calendar days to file an appeal with the department and did so. The appeal will go to an administrative law process where a judge will determine what will happen next.

“Caddock has submitted additional documents detailing our position to the DEQ and has a meeting scheduled with them at the end of April to further discuss their findings,” The release said. “... Caddock Electronics has a high level of commitment to maintaining systems that are highly effective in meeting the requirements of the DEQ.”