In a special meeting Monday, the Roseburg City Council authorized city staff to apply for a grant to help provide business education to low and middle-income people.

The deadline to apply for the grant is Aug. 28. The City Council held the special meeting so councilors could read the resolution into the record at the regular meeting afterward.

The Community Development Block Grant Program through Business Oregon is available to non-metro area cities for economic or housing development.

If awarded, the grant would include up to $100,000 to provide basic business administration education to low or middle-income entrepreneurs through an established curriculum.

Courses would be made available to people in Douglas, Coos and Curry counties at no cost. They would take place over six weeks.

The city estimates the program would benefit at least 40 participants.

Additionally, the City Council adopted a resolution that will encourage city staff to consider constructing shaded spaces in future developments. It will also encourage staff to seek grants for projects that provide shade.

The city has been working with Blue Zones Project Umpqua’s Built Environment Committee on the shade policy.

The policy is in response to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data that show skin cancer is the most common type of cancer in the nation. Douglas County has one of the highest rates of melanoma in Oregon.

Providing abundant shade in public spaces would help protect against skin damage while encouraging people to spend time outdoors, according to the policy.

Jaddon Rogers, a dermatologist from Advanced Skin Center in Roseburg, advocated for the policy at the meeting. He said his clinic diagnosed more than 5,000 cases of melanoma in 2018, and the policy would help prevent people, particularly children, from developing skin cancer.

The policy will require city staff to consider how to provide shade at new public developments and community events.

The City Council also introduced an ordinance that would allow the city to use an online bidding service to auction surplus city property.

The city currently donates surplus property such as a vehicle or unused land to local nonprofits or auctions during its annual auction.

The ordinance would streamline the process, removing the need for city staff to provide a staging area and viewing times for the property. The online system could reach a larger audience of potential buyers, according to city staff.

The city is preparing to hold its annual auction in September but would like to start using the online system to auction several vehicles later this year.

Max Egener can be reached at megener@nrtoday.com and 541-957-4217. Or follow him on Twitter @maxegener.

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City Reporter

Max Egener is the city reporter for The News-Review. He has a master's degree from the University of Oregon, and is an avid skier and backpacker.

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