By Rodger Nichols
For The Sentinel 

City appoints new council member


Rodger Nichols

JOINING THE COUNCIL: Jane Roberts will be a member of the Goldendale City Council starting May 20.

The Goldendale City Council has a new member, though she won't take office until May 20. Jane E. Roberts was the only person to apply for the seat vacated by the recent resignation of Carmen Knopes, who took a fulltime position at the Klickitat County Jail.

Though Roberts was the sole applicant, council members who questioned her briefly about her expectations and goals for the position were well satisfied and unanimously gave consensus for her appointment.

Roberts attended Columbia River High School in Vancouver where she played volleyball and took part in throwing events in track and field with a specialty in discus. She earned a degree in secondary education at the University of Idaho and will soon complete a master's degree in education from Augustana University. She and her husband Mike moved to the Gorge in 2015 when he became the Superintendent/Principal at Wishram School. She taught in North Wasco County School District then took a position as English teacher and volleyball coach at Wishram. The couple moved to Goldendale in 2016 and have operated an AirBnB in their large house on Second Street.

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"I'm excited to serve on the council," Roberts said after the meeting. "Goldendale is a wonderful place, and I hope to serve well."

She will be sworn in at the next city council meeting on May 20. Her appointment will run until the certification of ballots in the November election. Next week is filing week, and Roberts is expected to sign up to run for the remaining two years of the term in that election.

In other actions, council members heard from Auscrete's John Sporvieri, who told the council that there was not a lot to report since he was last there.

"Nothing has gone backwards," he hastened to add, "Certainly a number of things have gone forward. We had a company down in California come to us with an order-but we can't take an order, so an offer to purchase is probably I guess the right word for it-for over 100 homes"

Sporvieri said those were from areas devastated by fire in and that the California company was "getting fairly serious" about wanting some quick deliveries on these, but that it would take several months to get a Goldendale plant operational.

He said that there had been financial setbacks in that two of the company's directors had died, one just before Christmas and another a couple of months ago. One of them, he added, was important in the financing side of it.

"But our original financier has come back and believes he is in a position now to get this thing rolling," Sporvieri said, mentioning the possibility of another company. "I can't give you any more information in terms of what we're going to do because it's still in consideration of what we're able to plan here. It may be a case where we have another company start up production for us. Maybe we might have some more good news in another week or so."

Councilor Justin Leigh noted that in February the council had given Auscrete a year's extension from March 2019 to March 2020 to complete building a plant in the city's industrial park but that Sporvieri had never signed that agreement.

Sporvieri replied that the company had been working from home and hadn't been in Goldendale for a while and there's no reason not to sign it. But when Leigh asked if he would be willing to stay after the meeting and sign it, Sporvieri said he hadn't planned to stay after but would be in Goldendale in the next couple of days and would take care of it then.

Councilors did approve a zone change for property at the intersection of Klickitat and Railroad the city had declared surplus and invited proposals. The city accepted an offer from local Nazarene Church to build a new building on that property. Currently the property is zoned light industrial, which does not allow church buildings as a use, and the change would be to two-family residential which does allow churches as a conditional use. This would not be a case of spot zoning because two sides of the property are next to properties already zoned two-family residential.

In other actions, council members approved a contract with Apollo Solutions to conduct an energy audit on city buildings and equipment. There is no commitment on the city's part for costs unless the audit finds areas where changes would be warranted. They also declared a 1971 Seagate fire truck and a 1994 Chevrolet pickup as surplus. They will be donated to the Rural Seven auction, with the proceeds, minus 15 percent for the auctioneer fee, will be donated to the local fire victims fund.

Finally, councilors approved the first reading of an ordinance governing the use of all-terrain vehicles and side-by-sides on city streets. Chief Reggie Bartkowski said the ordinance had been crafted after research into other cities which have enacted similar ordinances.

The new ordinance would require operators to be 18 years old, have a valid license, travel below 35 miles per hour, and be equipped with headlights, tail lights, turn signals, mirrors, and either a windshield or require the drive to wear glasses or goggles. They would also be forbidden to ride on the sidewalks except for snow removal. They would also have to be registered after inspected by a dealer.

The second reading of the ordinance will take place at the May 20 meeting.

No committee meeting schedules were announced.


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