Pendleton City Council unanimously agreed Tuesday to bring aboard another volunteer from the Rural Assistance for Rural Environments program to replace Hilary Lovelace, who departs July 31.
The nine month, $22,000 program is a collaboration between the AmeriCorps and the University of Oregon. Lovelace, 22, of Raleigh, N.C., moved to Pendleton shortly after graduating from Appalachian State University in 2011 with a bachelors in sociology, minor in geography, and certificate in geographic information systems.
Councilman Bryan Branstetter was concerned about the cost to the city, which must foot what grants dont cover. But Lovelace and Corbett were confident they could secure most, if not all, of the money through grants.
Lovelace, whose last day is July 31, said shes applied for a $10,000 Wildhorse grant and $10,000 from the Meyer Memorial Trust, and Round-Up City Development Corporation has pledged $2,000 to fund the program. Corbett said hes researched other grant options, as well, including the Pendleton Foundation Trust. Corbett said the city pays less than half of what it would for someone else to do the work.
The value of the RARE program is that we get temporary staff to work on projects that benefit the community that we wouldnt otherwise accomplish, Corbett said.
Lovelace said she has checked census data against local records such as Pacific Power and water billing records, compiled a buildable lands inventory, collaborated with Energy Trust to help residents save energy costs, worked on geographic information systems projects and created the housing rehabilitation program for the next RARE participant.
She also coordinated Solarize Pendleton, recently fraught with complication from the sudden insolvency of LiveLight Energy, the solar power systems installer the city hired for the project.
Lovelace said Pendleton conducted the first interviews for her successor Friday. She said the city will consider four to five candidates, who will each choose five communities in which they are interested in working. AmeriCorps and the University of Oregon will make the final matches, and Lovelaces successor will start in about a month.
She said the person filling her shoes needs initiative and interpersonal skills.
Theyre going to have to be incredibly self-motivated and comfortable talking to lots of people, she said. Its not always clear what the best thing is to do, so Ive had to do a lot of exploring on my own.
She said her favorite part of the job has been its flexibility and the people shes met.
Because Im a fresh face people are more willing to talk to me, she said.
Lovelace said working with a lot of community organizations has made it easier to get to know the community, and shes made meaningful connections that will last long after her time in Pendleton.
People are full of ideas and that made my job a lot easier, she said. And they were always very willing to talk to me.
Contact Chris Rizer at email@example.com or 541-966-0836.