Have you taken a drive down Southeast Byers lately? This would be the perfect opportunity to showcase some real urban renewal if the city were to complete the street project with new curbs, sidewalks, and perhaps move utility lines underground — at least make an attempt at some real visible urban renewal to a neighborhood badly in need.
Think that will happen anytime soon? Nope, the “movers and shakers” have a bridge to move, a movie theater to restore, and now the old city hall to rebuild. In a display of good will, City Hall, perhaps in the spirit of Christmas and despite having levied a substantial fine on the owners of the old city hall for a violation of the city nuisance ordinance — a fine never collected — has now approved a $33,000 grant for new windows. Didn’t they just defer replacing the windows in the new city hall because of a lack of funding?
Anyway, next year City Hall will again hire a consultant to tell us our city streets are still in bad shape. Something we already know. City Hall’s answer is again more taxes, or “maybe there’s a great idea, but I haven’t heard it” was another councilor’s comment.
One suggestion was to eliminate the 70/30 formula and only fix top-rated streets, let a computer tell us which ones just like we did before. The 70/30 formula is supposed to guarantee that the utility tax instituted by the council is used to get residential streets the needed repairs. Are we hiring managers that rely so much on computers and consultants that they can’t see the forest for the trees? Rather than let a computer run the street repair program or waste money on consultants telling us something we already know, how about giving common sense a try. Isn’t that the manager’s job?
From the picture of Northwest Bailey on the East Oregonian’s front page, a newspaper reporter had no problem finding a street the city continues to ignore. A matter of priorities, fixing streets or moving a bridge, you can guess which is more important to City Hall.