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Also approved paving project, heard update on police chief search at March 19 meeting

Just three members were present during a West Linn City Council meeting Monday, March 19, but it was still enough for a quorum and the council moved several items forward.

Surplus properties

The council voted 2-1 to allow the City to move forward with the process of selling two surplus properties at 6123 and 6175 Skyline Drive.

Those properties were purchased in 2015 to be used as staging areas for the construction of a new Bolton Reservoir, with the intent to sell them and put the money back in the City's water fund after construction finished. The reservoir was completed in 2017, and the City Council officially declared the properties as surplus in January 2018.

At that Jan. 8 meeting, the council asked for staff to explore several other options besides selling the properties, including asking the West Linn-Wilsonville School District if it could use the properties for parking at West Linn High School and evaluating whether the City could construct a new storage facility there.

City Manager Eileen Stein asked for the go-ahead to proceed with the sale Monday after City staff determined that none of those alternatives appeared feasible. The school district indicated in conversations with both staff and City Councilor Teri Cummings that it was not interested in the property, and City staff found size and location issues that would make a storage facility untenable.

Before the vote, City Councilor Rich Sakelik said he wanted to discuss the parking idea with the West Linn-Wilsonville School Board at an upcoming joint meeting before dismissing the possibility. He also proposed that the City try selling the properties without a real estate company to save money.

The other two councilors and staff were opposed to the latter idea.

"It's not just a matter of doing the paperwork, but marketing the property," Stein said. "We don't have that expertise on staff."

The properties are zoned for single-family housing.

Sakelik ultimately voted "no," saying he wasn't against the idea of selling the properties but that he still wanted more input from the school board before taking action.

Slurry seals

The council also voted unanimously to approve a $220,883 contract with Blackline, Inc. for the City's 2018 Slurry Seal Project.

The seals, which Public Works Director Lance Calvert described as "a very thin layer that extends pavement life," will be applied to 129,000 square feet of streets around the city. The bulk of this year's project is concentrated in the Willamette, Savanna Oaks and Barrington Heights neighborhoods.

A full map of the project can be found at bit.ly/2G5Keke.

Police chief recruitment

Near the end of the meeting, Stein gave a progress report on the City's search for a new police chief.

The City received 47 applications for police chief and chose six finalists. Interviews will be next Wednesday, March 28, and various stakeholders are expected to attend. The City will likely narrow the search down to two candidates after that.

Stein said those stakeholders will include members of the Public Safety Advisory Committee, the city's business community and the West Linn Alliance for Inclusive Community.

The City's former police chief, Terry Timeus, retired last fall. Captain Neil Hennelly has served as acting chief since then, but plans to retire at the end of June.

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