Corvallis Mayor Biff Traber and the rest of the City Council honored outgoing Ward 1 Councilor Penny York at the end of Monday night’s meeting at the downtown fire station.
York was elected in 2012 and served three terms, including one as council vice president.
Traber noted York’s involvement in a series of key issues: the public participation task force; the Imagine Corvallis 2040 vision work; the revision of council evaluation processes; and organizing a community outreach effort to gather data about possible city charter changes.
“But she contributed work beyond those four issues and I will definitely miss her,” Traber said. “I also valued and appreciated both her challenging me and supporting me during my mayoral term.”
The council has its final 2018 meeting Dec. 17 when York will be out of town. The Dec. 17 meeting will be the last one for retiring nine-term Councilor Hal Brauner and four-term Ward 2 Councilor Roen Hogg, who gave up his seat to challenge Traber for mayor.
In other highlights of the Monday meeting:
• Councilors unanimously approved renaming a street in the upcoming Ponderosa Ridge subdivision in northwest Corvallis. The developer suggested Northwest Stag Place for a 450-foot east-west “stub street” that connects the new development with the Suncrest neighborhood. The Corvallis Fire Department thought that the planned name, Northwest Deer Run Street, was confusing because the north-south street that enters the new subdivision from Northwest Ponderosa Avenue also is called Northwest Deer Run Street.
One community member, Dave Eckert, spoke during the public hearing. Eckert recommended that the council review its policies on street names to allow for consideration of names that reflect the region’s Native American heritage while also expressing a broader concern about whether developers should be responsible for naming streets.
“Street names will last way beyond our kids and grandkids and they might be your greatest legacy,” Eckert told the councilors.
Although no formal promise was made, councilors seemed inclined to review the street-naming policy and consider Eckert’s request.
• Nine of the 10 residents who spoke during the community comments period expressed concerns about the health impacts of electromagnetic radiation stemming from the planned adoption of 5G networking for telecommunications and Pacific Power’s installation of smart meters. Residents have made numerous appearances at recent council meetings expressing similar concerns.
To date the city has taken no action regarding their concerns save expressing sympathy regarding the opt-out fees that Pacific Power was charging to residents who did not want the meters installed. The state Public Utility Commission responded to those concerns in August by eliminating the one-time-only $137 charge for opting out but keeping the $36 per month meter-reading fee for those without smart meters.