Jacque Betz: We can now be better prepared for future storms and emergency events

COURTESY PHOTO: CITY OF GLADSTONE - Gladstone's Public Works facility, 18595 Portland Ave., is proposed for replacement pending a ballot measure in November.Nov. 2, 2021, election — what a great day for Gladstone! An overwhelming majority of voters approved Measure 3-570 to authorize replacement of the city's Public Works building. COURTESY PHOTO: CITY OF GLADSTONE - Jacque Betz is the city administrator for Gladstone.

Located on Portland Avenue in downtown Gladstone and built 50 years ago as a prefabricated shop, the facility serves as one of Gladstone's command centers for natural disasters and often is called on for round-the-clock response. It is designated as a critical facility to "protect citizens, critical facilities, infrastructure, private property and the environment from natural hazards" — but it does not meet FEMA standards.

To replace the building, voter approval was needed. In July, the Gladstone City Council agreed unanimously to take action and send the measure to voters. With voters approving the plan, we can now get to work. We are going to construct a new building instead of a more costly rehabilitation of the existing building.

The building will be constructed on the same site as the old building so no additional land is needed. These strategies will save time and money in design and construction. We expect to complete the building in 2023.

We just need to look back at last winter's experience to understand the benefits to the community of the new building. In the snow and ice storm of February 2021, the Public Works building lost power and wasn't restored for four days. There was no heat, electricity or internet service. Working from their vehicles to tackle problems with streets, sewers and water lines, city crews communicated by cell phone. Access to equipment and supplies was difficult. Now, with voter approval, we can be better prepared for future storms and emergency events.

Three out of four Gladstone voters also approved Measure 3-569 updating our home rule charter. The new charter is based on the League of Oregon Cities model charter. There are no big changes, but the new version is more concise, gender neutral and consistent with state law.

On behalf of Mayor Tammy Stempel, Council President Matt Tracy, Councilor Randy Ripley, Councilor Greg Alexander, Councilor Tracy Todd, Councilor Annessa Hartman and Councilor Mindy Garlington, we send a heartfelt "thank you" to Gladstone voters.

Jacque Betz is the city administrator for Gladstone.

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