LOSTINE — Fires and smoke management were at the top of the agenda Wednesday, Sept. 2, when the Lostine City Council held its monthly meeting.
Lisa Mahon and Katy Nesbitt introduced the council to Wallowa County’s community response plan for smoke management. The committee is conducting a survey with the aim of developing better alerts to high smoke volume and to provide the public with ways to handle the smoke.
Mayor/Fire Chief Dusty Tippet said the city’s fire department had received more than the normal number of calls. He said there was a good turnout from volunteer firefighters but hopes to meet with the Oregon Department of Forestry to discuss how the city and the Oregon Department of Forestry can better work as a firefighting team.
In another matter, City Recorder Toni Clary discussed the possibility of moving the Lostine Post Office from its current location across from City Hall to Neal Park on Elizabeth Street. Clary said the post office will require the city to have a survey of the property conducted, which will cost between $2,000 and $5,000, and to propose a monthly lease rate.
Council members asked what the monthly cost to maintain such a move would be and Clary said she would inquire and possibly ask for a special meeting to address the situation.
The current post office’s lease expires in August 2021 and the property owner has declined to renew it since they want the use of the property back.
The council also declined a request by the South Fork Grange to cut its water bill in light of hard times caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Council members discussed the matter and decided it’s the responsibility of each water customer to inform the city if the customer needs the water turned off in hard times. Although the city won’t cut the bill, the council agreed to eliminate any finance fees and offered a free option to have the water turned on and off.
Clary also told the council of a broken window upstairs in city hall caused by a recent storm. The council agreed this put a greater urgency on plans to renovate the building. Tippet asked for a motion to immediately replace the broken window and then to proceed with renovations in the spring. Both motions were passed by the council.
The council’s next meeting will be at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 7.