City & Government

Local Roundup Briefs: Week of Jan. 4

Mill Street Reconstruction Project begins this year

SPRINGFIELD – The Mill Street Reconstruction Project is planned to begin the summer of 2024 and will extend through the summer of 2025.

The project will address crumbling pavement as well as challenges faced by pedestrians and bicyclists. According to the City, the Mill Street Reconstruction Project’s goals are fivefold:

“Create a new transportation asset that will serve our community for many years by fully reconstructing a major collector in complete disrepair;

Improve accessibility for pedestrians and bicyclists by addressing pedestrian crossings, bring curb ramps up to meet ADA standards, and fill in missing gaps in the Springfield bicycle network;

Improve street lighting to make the area more walkable at night and increase the safety of all users;

Rehabilitate wastewater lines. This is necessary to enable the City to maintain compliance with federal and state requirements to eliminate wastewater overflows;

Improve stormwater facilities. Stormwater management is an important part of the community’s effort to improve water quality, protect fish habitat, and protect properties and infrastructure from flooding. Stormwater flows to storm drains, gutters, ditches, swales, or a system of pipes, eventually ending up in the McKenzie or Willamette rivers. Unlike wastewater from indoor plumbing, stormwater is not treated before being emptied into our waterways.”

According to public information officer Loralyn Spiro, property owners on Mill Street were mailed a postcard in October 2023 “to inform them that the Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) was sending out more information on temporary construction easements in the coming weeks.”

The postcard explained that a temporary easement “provides a temporary right to use the property of another for specific uses and for a specific time period. The purpose of these easements is to provide space for the contractor to construct new sidewalks and driveway connections as part of the Mill Street Project. All new sidewalks and ADA curb ramps will be constructed within the existing City right of way.”

Further, it stated that “temporary activities within the easement will likely include but are not limited to foot traffic, construction equipment, concrete formwork, clearing, grubbing, and re-seeding.”

— Amanda Lurey

New Measure 110 helpline announced

Measure 110, also known as The Drug and Addiction Treatment and Recovery Act of 2020, became effective Dec. 4, 2020, and it works hand in hand with July 2021’s Senate Bill 755, which amended the act and made it more feasible to implement. Drug addiction treatment within the state of Oregon was a hot topic of 2023, allowing The Chronicle to consistently report on it.

In recent news, Oregon Health Authority (OHA) has unveiled a new phone access line for more immediate connection to services and support. This new helpline number is 1-833-975-0505; the previous helpline numbers – 1-503-575-3769 and 1-541-575-3769 – will continue to operate and feed into the new number.

OHA announced that Health Resources in Action (HRiA), a nonprofit organization based in Boston, was selected as the new contractor for the helpline, replacing Lines for Life. The 18-month contract, for more than $2.8 million, will allow HRiA to undertake extensive statewide outreach and add new functionalities to the hotline, such as texting.

A press release wrote: “This helpline will continue to be a statewide public resource for substance use screening and service referrals as well as a resource for those seeking to waive Class E citations.” It also wrote that 577 people have called the helpline since 2021.

“We’re excited to partner with HRiA to refresh the Measure 110 helpline,” OHA behavioral health director Ebony Clarke said. “We know the helpline has been vastly underutilized, and we’re optimistic that HRiA’s trauma-informed and compassionate approach to supporting individuals in need of help will make it easier for Oregonians to access Measure 110’s life-saving services and support.”

“Measure 110 network providers reported continued increases in the number of clients served statewide in all seven network areas, according to the latest quarterly program reports filed with OHA,” the press release wrote. “Overdose prevention and peer support services accounted for the largest client gains in the quarterly reporting and over all three quarters. Substance-use treatment providers reported 41% more clients in quarterly gains and 104% over the first three quarters in operation.”

— Amanda Lurey

Trespasser nabbed at The Village Green

COTTAGE GROVE – Cottage Grove Police Department (CGPD) K9 Ripp, a 4-year-old Belgian Malinois who came to CGPD from the nonprofit Working Dogs, had an eventful first patrol back after being certified by the Oregon Police Canine Association (OPCA).

According to CGPD captain Shawn Marsh, each officer and K9 pair must be certified every year, as it’s a requirement for an officer to be a handler in the state of Oregon. OPCA certification is granted after the duo excel at a myriad of different tests, which all regard command and control of the dog.

With the guidance of his handler, officer Derek Carlton, Ripp successfully captured a suspect who was trespassing. Forty-seven-year-old Jeremiah Shores was in The Village Green at 725 Row River Road, which is the location of many thefts and burglaries in recent months, according to Cottage Grove Police Department; since August 2023, it has reported three incidents of trespass, two burglaries, and two thefts.

While Carlton and Ripp were on patrol of The Village Green, they noticed that a door to the business was found open. A CGPD press release set the scene:

“When Officer Carlton shined his light inside the room, he saw a face looking out the doorway, hiding behind debris. K9 Ripp was escorted on leash toward the open door, while Officer Carlton gave verbal commands for Shores to exit the building. After multiple verbal requests for Shores to show his hands and come out of the building, he eventually complied with the commands and exited the building, where he was then detained by the officers at the scene.”

Officers did not locate any stolen property or damage to the building during their investigation. Shores was issued a citation instead of being charged with Criminal Trespass 1, as stated in ORS 164.255, for entering and remaining unlawfully in the building.

—Amanda Lurey

Update: Creswell Water Control District is still running

CRESWELL — Back in January 2023, The Chronicle reported on the potential dissolution of the Creswell Water Control District (CWCD). While the organization may have had a quiet year, it did not dissolve and is still actively running, according to board member Michael Karam.

“(The dissolution) went to a vote, and people voted to keep it. The only people who could vote were people who were actually in the district, so we have not dissolved at this point because we kinda can’t, and we’re bringing on new members because we have one member retiring and another moving out of the state,” he said. 

CWCD did not begin or finish any projects in 2023, but this was not due to the need for board members or the Department of Environmental Quality’s requirements.

“Part of that is: The land clearing companies were still occupied after the forest fires because they make a whole lot more money out there, so we wound up not being able to do any of our projects. That means we have a little extra money to do two projects in 2024 hopefully, though,” he said.

Once 2024’s dry season comes, CWCD will be able to get to work on some projects, one of which would regard maintenance on the channel.

— Amanda Lurey

County seeks rural residents who need help reducing wildfire risk around their homes

Rural residents who need help with fuels reduction to help make their homes less at risk from wildfire may be able to receive up to $4,000 in work from Lane County – and, unlike other grant programs, it does not require property owners to cover any of the cost. 

The focus of the grant is providing 50 feet of defensible space around homes through vegetation clearing. 

“This new grant funding is going to make a big difference for at least 100 properties in our community,” said Lane County Land Management Technician Cammryne Anderson. “Other programs that we run require property owners to cover the costs up front and then reimburse for part of the total cost depending on the project. With this funding, we will be able to provide $4,000 in work by a County-coordinated contractor. Our residents won’t need to provide funding up front or attempt to hire their own contractor.”

Residents must live in unincorporated Lane County. Residents who are elderly, low-income, disabled or otherwise vulnerable and who live in high-risk areas will be given priority.

Lane County is collecting interest forms through Feb. 29, 2024. The interest forms were designed to be simple and quick for people to fill out. Selected property owners will be contacted by Lane County to schedule a site visit before any work begins in spring and summer of 2024. 

The funding comes from a grant awarded to Lane County by the Oregon State Fire Marshal. 

Interested residents can submit their interest form online at or contact program staff at [email protected] or 541-682-6702. 



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