New faces at CJ City Council meeting

At the Oct. 10 Cave Junction City Council meeting at City Hall, Mayor Meadow Martell and the four councilors: Ethan Lane, Tina Casey-Jones, Jean Ann Miles and Jesse Dugas were in their usual spots at the front of the room, along with city recorder Rebecca Patton. Unlike past meetings, however, there was a new face amongst the usual crowd, that of the new city contract planner James Shireman, who will be replacing Ryan Nolan for the foreseeable future.
During the liaison updates, Teresa Stover joined the meeting via Zoom to give her library update. She let the council know that things were going smoothly, and also was able to answer their questions and concerns regarding the design cost that had been signed off on at the previous meeting. Stover agreed that the number presented to the council at the previous meeting was higher than had been initially anticipated, and explained that in order to hopefully decrease the construction cost further down the line, the design cost had been increased. This explanation seemed to suffice for the council.
Councilor Lane mentioned that he had recently attended an energy roundtable and that a hot topic of conversation at this event had been how the city could best get along with Pacific Power. Councilor Miles spoke about how attending multiple workshops in Bend had opened her eyes to the city’s need to contribute to its social infrastructure, pointing out that things like schools, churches, libraries and parks are vital aspects of the community that deserve to be focused on more, and Councilor Dugas mentioned a distinct need for organizations to better inform community members of events as they come up.
The city council was also introduced to the new local Americorp representative, Christina Berger. Berger is working on strengthening the community’s access to broadband services, as there is certainly a need for internet connectivity in rural areas. Improving these services will lend itself to the possibility of more citizens improving their overall digital literacy, and this is something that Berger will be focusing heavily on during her fellowship year.

The city council also approved the adaptation of the Collaborative Economic Development Committee bylaws. Jean Ann Miles gave a passionate presentation to her fellow council members about the need for further economic development in the Illinois Valley, also pointing out that this was the first time the city of Cave Junction had a say-so in this matter, as Grants Pass was usually the ‘liason’ for Josephine County in these matters. There was not much convincing needed, as either way this is something that will need to be brought before the council multiple times, and the motion to approve passed unanimously.
The meeting ended with a short, relatively succinct public hearing regarding the annexation of a tax lot located off of E. River Street owned by Daryl Wicheloe. The goal of this annexation is to partition the designated rural-residential site into multiple single-family home sites. After a brief conversation between city planner Lisa Richardson, the city council, and the new contract planner regarding the specifics of what constituted a ‘single family’ residence, the decision was made for unanimous approval by the council, meaning that the ordinance resulting from this hearing was passed unanimously once the meeting resumed.
The next city council meeting will take place Monday, Nov. 14 at City Hall at 7 p.m.