Council adopts policy on naming city-owned facilities

Sean C. Morgan

The Sweet Home City Council last week adopted a resolution setting a policy for naming public facilities owned by the city.

The Administration and Finance Committee recommended a policy to the council on Oct. 18, and the council reviewed the proposed policy in a work session on Nov. 29.

The purpose was to establish a uniform policy that would provide direction regarding naming and renaming city land, facilities, parks and buildings that are compatible with the community interest and will enhance the values and heritage of Sweet Home.

Under the policy, the council has the final authority to name or rename any city-owned property, and the donation of land, facilities or funds does not constitute an obligation or a right to the donor to name any land or facilities granted to the city.

Costs for plaques, monuments and signs will be borne by the individual, group or organization sponsoring a name request.

The size, wording and materials for any memorial or sign associated with the name of city-owned property must comply with the city’s sign code and will be reviewed by city staff prior to production. Signs must be written in English.

Names should reflect the history, flora, fauna, geographic area or natural geological features related to the City of Sweet Home.

They may reflect historical events, cultural attributes, local landmarks or historical figures as well as the city’s ethnic and cultural diversity.

The council may consider several points when thinking about names that honor families or individuals, including the following:

n Whether the individual(s) has made a lasting and significant contribution to the protection of natural, cultural or historical resources in Sweet Home;

n Whether the individual(s) has made significant contributions to the betterment of a specific city-owned property or made a substantial contribution to the advancement of recreation opportunities in Sweet Home;

n Whether the individual(s) is associated with an economic development or redevelopment activity the city is undertaking;

n Whether the individual(s) has made a positive impact on the lives of Sweet Home residents;

n Whether the individual(s) has volunteered or worked for the city for more than 10 years;

n Whether the individuals have distinguished themselves through military service; and

n Whether the individual(s) is a current or past resident of Sweet Home and have distinguished themselves.

The council may name a property after a city official or employee only if the person no longer works for the city; has made contributions above normal duties; has made a positive impact on past and future development of programs, projects or facilities; has made significant volunteer contributions outside the scope of his or her job; has been an employee at least 10 years; and has significant public support for a memorial to the city official or employee.

Under the procedure for naming city property, administrative fees and costs of materials may be assessed to the applicant based on the actual cost, including a $400 fee for public hearing notices. The council can adjust the fee at its discretion.

The applicant must show evidence that the proposed name meets the requirements of the policy. The council will review the request and may return the application to the application for further information.

Afterward, a notice of intent to name a city property will be posted in public places for 30 days and published in the city’s newspaper of record. A public hearing follows during a regular City Council meeting, and then the council decides whether to accept the name.

The Jim Riggs Community Center and Hobart Nature Preserve are two city properties named within the past 20 years.

Riggs was a key figure in the effort to construct the Community Center, and Hobart is named for the donor of the property on which the nature preserve park is located.

Coming up, the city is planning to take possession of the former Knife River quarry property along the south bank of the South Santiam River west of Clark Mill Road. The city had no formal naming policy when it acquired the properties. The 220-acre property is owned by Linn County, and the city is working with the Sweet Home Economic Development Group to develop the property. Naming the property will fall under this resolution.

Voting yes on the resolution were James Goble, Greg Mahler, Mayor Jim Gourley, Dave Trask, Jeff Goodwin and Diane Gerson. Ryan Underwood was absent.

In other business, the council:

– Re-appointed Eva Jurney to the Planning Commission.

– Re-appointed Alice Smith to the Tree Commission.

– Officially combined its Administration and Finance and its Property committees.

– Approved a marijuana tax collection agreement with the state Department of Revenue.

– Held the first and second reading of an ordinance to provide for the alternate collection of a 3-percent marijuana tax by the state. A third reading will be held on Jan. 10, and the council may then vote to approve the ordinance proposal.