Developing Stanfield’s interchange with Interstate 84 is the city’s top priority, according to a goal-setting process with city councilors.

Councilors had two different brainstorming sessions earlier in the year, then individually ranked all projects according to importance. Fostering development at the interchange by expanding the city’s urban growth boundary was the first of 21 goals released Friday by the city of Stanfield.

City manager Blair Larsen said he expects the goals to guide the city’s work for the next five years. Some projects on the list are already in the works, while others will need grant money or other revenue sources behind them before they become a reality.

“Funding is always the issue,” Larsen said.

As far as development of the land around the interchange, Larsen said there are two main ways a city can directly influence development: putting the necessary infrastructure into place and working to match the needs of potential developers. The state often sends “leads” to cities, letting them know that a company is in need of a piece of land in their area that meets a certain list of criteria. Larsen said Stanfield usually doesn’t have a match because its available commercial and industrial land is too small or too far away from the city’s infrastructure.

The state is extremely restrictive on when cities can add space to their urban growth boundaries, and Larsen said Stanfield’s needs wouldn’t fit that criteria. However, he believes the city would qualify to swap land, taking a chunk out of the city’s UGB elsewhere and putting in the land around the interchange instead.

Developer Kent Madison is looking to develop an RV park and commercial space on the opposite side of the interchange, near Echo. That land is in Echo’s urban growth boundary, not Stanfield’s, but Larsen said if it goes through it could still help Stanfield in its goal of making the interchange near the Pilot truck stop more than a place for travelers to pull off the road.

“A more developed interchange, I think, is better for everybody,” he said.

A few of the council’s goals are already well on their way to being a reality. Goal number 10 is to increase the hours of the city’s part-time code enforcement officer to make her a community enforcement officer who spends time in Stanfield and Echo schools, increases the amount of time spent on code enforcement and helps out with goal number seven, which is to increase the Stanfield Police Department’s public outreach and visibility. Larsen has been working with the school districts to make that happen in the coming year.

“This is not really a reactive position, but a proactive one,” Larsen said.

The majority of the council’s goals fall into the public works category. The council would like to see the city rehabilitate the old water tower standing over downtown, add more playground equipment to parks, improve park signage, install history markers around town, construct a bike path to Pilot and construct a trail along Stage Gulch. The city is also hoping to develop a concrete list of projects for volunteers and get everyone together at least once a year for a citywide cleanup event.

“Nobody wants to volunteer for something that is going to be a never-ending job,” Larsen said.

On the administrative side, the council wants to complete a salary study, give cost of living raises every two years and make police salaries more competitive. One way to do that will be goal number four, which is to raise franchise fees on utilities to 7 percent. The extra revenue can be part of the city’s goals to develop five-year financial forecasts and to write a capital improvement plan.

The other goals on the council’s list are to conduct annual meetings between the city council and business owners, expand the public library’s hours, present the council with an annual performance report and update the city’s website quarterly.

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Contact Jade McDowell at jmcdowell@eastoregonian.com or 541-564-4536.

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