Doug Frantum, left, and Benjamin Perez stand in front of the city’s new sewer excavation machine.

It’s a sign of just how much has changed in the last 18 months. Goldendale’s planned city council meeting Monday had to be postponed. Why? Because technical difficulties prevented the council from being able to sign on to Zoom.

There was a bare quorum of four of the seven council members present, but others were set to attend by Zoom, and they were not able to take part. At least one person who had planned to make a presentation to the council was going to do so by Zoom. And because the meeting notice said that the public would be allowed to attend by Zoom, to continue the meeting when the public could not participate would likely violate the public meetings laws. So Mayor Mike Canon announced the meeting would be rescheduled for next Monday night, October 11, at 7 p.m. A budget committee meeting that had been scheduled for next Monday at 7 p.m. will be moved earlier, to run from 5:15 to 6:45 p.m. that same night.

A special pre-meeting, however, was a success. It was scheduled for 6:30 outside city hall to allow council members and the public to view a new city sweeper truck and a new machine for excavating and cleaning out sewers. That new machine acts as a giant Water Pik that can excavate with waterpower, much less invasively and without the chances of tearing into a gas or electric line, as can happen with other excavation equipment. It also can run a line down a sewer with a camera and jet 3,000 pounds of pressure to cut tree roots and remove jams. The new street sweeper is a vast improvement over the two older machines the city had been nursing along, one of which currently does not start. Public Works Supervisor Doug Frantum and utility maintenance worker Benjamin Perez were all smiles in showing off the new machines to those who were able to attend.