Council OKs plan to name park plaza after Joe Graybill

Benny Westcott

The new plaza at Sankey Park now has a name, one befitting a local landmark.

The Sweet Home City Council on Tuesday, June 27, unanimously adopted a resolution to call the structure Graybill Plaza, in honor of longtime city employee Joe Graybill, who retired in February.

Graybill worked in both the public works and community and economic development departments for more than 26 years. He contributed to numerous projects, including the recent improvements to Sankey Park, serving as, according to the resolution, “a driving force for park and other infrastructure improvements throughout our community.”

Although the vote was unanimous, Council President Pro Tem Greg Mahler was not present, having informed Mayor Susan Coleman that he would be out of town and unable to attend the meeting. All but councilor Dylan Richards voted to excuse his absence.

In other action, the council:

— Approved the allocation of $20,000 in support of the Sweet Home Community Leadership Program, overseen by Rural Development Initiatives (RDI), a regional rural development hub organization that works with Pacific Northwest communities. Many Sweet Home residents have participated in the organization’s leadership development efforts over the last 20 years. In 2019, it collaborated with the city on a youth program that benefitted 13 Sweet Home students through leadership opportunities in schools, churches and the community. The current iteration of RDI’s program involves both youth and adults.

“I’m all in favor of community development and growth,” Councilor Lisa Gourley said. “This is a great training opportunity. It’s important to our community that we have emerging leaders.”

— Adopted a resolution extending the time that occupied RVs can be on private property from 60 to 180 days in a year (or until the end of the current school year, whichever is longer), in order to help families in RVs on private property address housing issues.

The resolution noted that the Family Assistance and Resource Center’s managed outreach and community resource center located east of Bi-Mart, while being a low-barrier facility for the homeless, does not serve families in need of shelter and facilities. The city has passed an ordinance prohibiting inhabited RVs on city streets.

— Conducted the first and second reading of an ordinance amending various portions of Sweet Home Municipal Code Title 17, after city staff identified errors to be corrected for defensibility and clarity of the code, according to Community and Economic Development Director Blair Larsen.

“The vast majority of the amendments that are identified here are correcting errors that we found after we passed our new development code,” Larsen said. “Many of them are relatively minor.”

In addition, the amendments include land-use regulation of adult-oriented businesses, which the code defines as “establishments that provide sexually oriented entertainment, services or products. … Types of uses include, but are not limited to, adult motion-picture theaters, video arcades, massage parlors, nude modeling studios, lotion studios, adult bookstores, adult paraphernalia shops, nude photography studios, or eating and drinking establishments that have sexually oriented entertainment such as nude dancers, strippers, or other similar entertainers.”

The ordinance makes such businesses conditional use, limiting them to the city’s industrial zone, with at least 500 feet between the businesses and schools, parks, churches and residential zones.

— Approved a special-event permit for the 31st annual Oregon Jamboree, which runs Friday through Sunday, Aug. 4-6, at the community field behind Sweet Home High School and in Sankey Park. The event opens with a free kick-off party Thursday, Aug. 3.

“We’re so excited for this year,” Oregon Jamboree Executive Director Robert Shamek said. “It’s going to be one of our biggest years ever, which is outstanding. We’re pretty much 100% sold out of camping, which is great because I get to write the city a great big check for all of our occupancy tax, which is always fun. It’s going to be a banner year, for sure.”

— Approved the 2023-26 collective-bargaining agreement between the city of Sweet Home and its general employees (American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees).

— Approved the 2022-25 collective bargaining agreement between the city and the Sweet Home Police Employee Association (SHPEA).

— Approved a public-address permit allowing the Downtown Lounge to play amplified music in its outdoor venue from 8 p.m. to midnight Thursday, Aug. 3, and Sunday, Aug. 6, and from 8 p.m. until 1 a.m. Friday, Aug. 4, and Saturday, Aug. 5.

— Voted to appoint Bonnie Neal, Bud Mather, Frank Gallagher, Vince Adams and Ryan Paul to the city’s Traffic Safety Committee.

— Voted to direct staff to research funding for Sweet Home’s Youth Advisory Council, and to include information about it on the city’s website and include member photos with parental permission.

— Voted to cancel the July 13 City Council meeting, which City Manager Kelcey Young proposed “in order for staff and council to focus on all the projects that are going on, as well as Sportsman’s Holiday, and take a little break.”

“I know there’s a lot of preparation by staff that goes into preparing for these meetings,” Gourley said, “so I’m OK with that.”

— Voted to appoint Larsen pro tem city manager from July 6-13 during Young’s absence.

— Adopted resolutions establishing salary schedules for nonrepresented employees; certifying that the city complies with sections of Oregon Revised Statute 475C related to marijuana sales inside city limits; and establishing certain public information, records, research, service and miscellaneous city fees in accordance with the city’s financial policies.

— Approved an intergovernmental agreement between the Oregon Cascades West Council of Governments (OCWCOG) and the city for planning services. Under the agreement, the city pays only for the OCWCOG staff time it uses. The city has paid less than $2,000 in the last year. A significant increase is not expected.