City & Government, Creswell

Homeless in parks, Arbor Day discussed

The Parks and Tree Advisory Committee met on Jan. 22 to discuss Arbor Day planning, as well as share an update on the city’s parks. The conversation, however, started with Garden Lake Park’s homeless population, as a member of the public brought it to the board’s attention during the public input section.
Citizen Elizabeth Hardardt expressed concern about the homeless population in the park, which she frequents with her children, and one individual in an RV in particular. Hardardt said that the woman in the RV begs, and on one instance approached and kissed her kids without consent, while Hardardt strapped them into the car.
Hardardt added that she doesn’t want to exclude all of the transient individuals, and asked if there was a camping program that would allow some people and not others.
Councilor Martha McReynolds Jr. invited Hardardt to attend the city council work session that evening, because the council would be discussing the issue of homelessness (see more stories in this week’s paper).
Afterwards, City Manager Michelle Amberg handed out the City of Creswell Committee and Commissions 2019 Handbook, and explained that it was important for the committee to read the handbook, especially paying attention to public meetings and public records law.
The preliminary proposal for the South 2nd Street park property has been completed and submitted to Lane County for survey review, and the approval document has been signed with an appeal time of 15 days; at this point, no comments have been submitted.
This proposal determines how the parcels will be split. Challenges were addressed in establishing water and sewer connections, because new easements must be granted for that, as well as an easement for fire access. The Fire Marshal identified the primary hydrant on Highway 99, and a need for drive through access to the 2nd Street hydrant.
City Planner Maddie Phillips told the board that the next step is to finalize the partition with descriptions of easements for fire, water and sewer; once platting is finalized, the actual sale of the property can occur.
There is no public utility easement (PUE) dedicated along Highway 99, and at this point Phillips said they do not have any perspective on what development will be required, because it is being done prior to the adoption. Phillips added that because there are no standards in place, they will ask for a seven-foot PUE. The 2002 addition plans specified for a five-and-a-half-foot wide sidewalk on South 2nd Street, which was not done and will have to be sorted out in the future.
Rob Walker, Creswell citizen, expressed concern about homeless camping before it becomes a park, and said he would like to see the property be subject to park hours.

Arbor Day
Committee Member Reilly Newman brought a trees and shrubs list. The order needs to be over the $200 minimum or the price of trees will double. Cottage Grove is included in that number, with $120 already spent; Creswell still needs to buy $80 worth of trees.
The trees need to be planted soon to give them the best chance of survival, and to make them the focus of the Arbor Day celebration.
Questions arose about where to plant trees, and the Cobalt Activity Center was proposed. McReynolds said she would like the trees planted in a location where maintenance would be taken into consideration.
Public Works Lead Seth Evans said he could find a good location for the trees. The north and west side of the Cobalt Building will have some room, and a fruit tree can benefit the food pantry for gleaning. He suggested a blue elderberry fruit tree, which will provide food for birds and people. It is $7 for each tree, and they will grow 10-to-20 feet in two to three years if taken care of properly.
The future bike park was also listed as a possible location for planting trees and holding the Arbor Day ceremony; however, trees there will require manual watering. McReynolds said she would like to do the ceremony at the proposed bike park.
After some discussion, McReynolds also suggested that the committee buy two oaks for $12 each, one maple for $12 and a cedar for $5.75 at the bike park, and three elderberry trees for $21 total for the Cobalt Activity Center. There was general agreement among board members.
The date for the next meeting is Feb. 12 at 10 a.m.



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