COTTAGE GROVE – The chambers were lively, and at times disruptive, during this past Monday’s city council meeting on Jan. 8.
Cottage Grove City Council navigated through impactful topics, switching gears effortlessly with the skill of someone who knows all their favorite television channels would wield a remote.
Solesbee’s State of the City Address
After confessing that “being on council the last five years has been a baptism by fire,” Mayor Candace Solesbee began the meeting with her state of the city address, focusing on the City’s continued quest to find solutions to its unhoused debacle.
The fourth generation Grover also added that, although she has been pursued by a recruiter for the House of Representatives, “that is a road I do not wish to walk; my dedication is to Cottage Grove alone.”
She then listed a multitude of the City’s accomplishments to highlight 2023’s success stories, zeroing in on themes of city repair, incoming development, and forward movement. She heavily focused on the Cottage Grove Police Department (CGPD). Of note, Solesbee said:
• CGPD is “launching an online reporting system that is designated by a local Lane County business in Eugene. MyPDConnect is a virtual platform that is being adopted to help create better access to reporting to the police department.”
• With a potential two year completion timeline, “the police department began the process of accreditation through the Oregon Accreditation Alliance.”
• Recruitment and hiring practices have been elevated, and staff – both human and canine – have been recently added to CGPD.
• Cottage Grove’s top priorities for 2024, according to the mayor, “are our citizen and council collaborative effort in creating creative and achievable solutions for funding our city road improvements, along with hiring high quality professionals to fully staff our police department.”
On the same page
Although this meeting was cause for much disagreement and palpable tension, there were six topics which led to immediate and unanimous decisions.
• Stewart was approved to remain the interim City Manager Pro Tem until Cottage Grove’s new city manager Mike Sauerwein begins on Jan. 22.
• The council voted for Greg Ervin to be 2024’s council president, allowing him to continue in this position.
• The Mayor’s subcommittee and liaison appointments were approved with an amendment to not appoint the Vision Keepers Committee representatives at this time.
• Garland Burback was appointed to the planning commission for a three year term beginning Jan. 8 and ending Dec. 31, 2026.
• Ervin and councilor Chalice Savage were appointed to represent the Council on the economic opportunities analysis advisory committee.
• A motion passed unanimously for the Council to acknowledge that a grievance was filed as far as the process for hiring the city manager, authorizing a response from the city attorney to accept the facts, add to those facts, and explain why there wasn’t a violation.
Regarding the last line item, when it was time to address concerns from council, Fleck made a motion, which was corrected and clarified by the city attorney in order for it to contain the proper verbiage. No information was shared about the grievance other than to state that it existed. The Chronicle will be investigating this filed grievance further.
— Amanda Lurey