Banks, City Council, Government

Signs, signs, signs

The current city of Banks sign on Highway 6. Photo: Brenda Schaffer

BANKS – The Banks City Council plans to hold a public hearing August 11 at 7:00 p.m. to discuss a resolution granting an exemption from the city holding a public bidding process in awarding a $56,000 contract to construct a new entry-way sign that says “Welcome to Banks” at the city limits. 

Banks plans to award the contract “not to exceed $20,000” to locally-based Five Star Builders, Inc., a general contracting company founded in 1993, according to a city press release.

A recording of the May city council meeting says Five Star Builders plans to donate $36,000 to the project. City leaders say the $20,000 Banks will need to spend on the project is low enough that it does not meet the threshold for requiring the city to put the project out for public bid.

Incidentally, Clint Jackson, a co-owner of Five Star Builders, is a member of the Banks Economic Development Commission.

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The Banks City Council will hear public testimony at the hearing, although citizens will not be permitted to attend the meeting in person due to ongoing COVID-19 restrictions imposed by the city.

Citizens wishing to provide testimony may do so during the meeting via telephone, by using the video conference tool Zoom, or by sending written testimony via email to City Recorder Angie Lanter at [email protected].

Signs to help businesses go up on Banks Vernonia State Trail

In a story unrelated to the above, those out and about on the Banks Vernonia State Trail may have noticed two new signs with various Banks businesses listed on them in the last month or so, located at the Manning Trailhead and at the Banks Trailhead.

The signs are the brainchild of Banks city councilor and president of the Friends of Stub Stewart State Park and Banks-Vernonia Rails to Trails Marsha Kirk, who worked with the Oregon Parks and Recreation Department, local businesses, and the Banks city council to install the wayfinding signs for visitors to the Banks Vernonia Trail to find and support local businesses, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

The new sign at the Banks Vernonia Trailhead in Banks. Photo: Marsha Kirk.

Kirk, who paid for the signs out of pocket, noted her desire to assist businesses in town that had been hardest hit by the pandemic.

“I wanted to do this to help our local businesses that I know are struggling to stay open and pay their bills during this time. I know how much the BV trail gets used by visitors from out of the area and have seen how they don’t usually even drive or ride down to the other end of town. No money came from the businesses or the City or Chamber for these.  I gave my concept to Stephanie at Champion signs who made it look a lot better and made them up,” Kirk said in an email to the Banks Post. 

Similar signs are in the works in Vernonia on the Crown Zellerbach Trail and the trail that rounds Vernonia Lake, according to Kirk.

Exterior Improvement Matching Grant Program

The city of Banks plans to award up to $25,000 in matching grants to commercial property owners in Banks this year to improve the general “curb appeal” of eligible properties in the city. 

To be eligible, the property must be located within the city’s urban renewal district

According to documents obtained from the city of Banks, the grant program is good for up to $5,000 per property, with $1 given by the city for every $1 invested by the business to improve the exterior appearance of buildings in town for projects such as landscaping, painting, awnings, art, paving, fencing, and, you guessed it, signage, though the city noted that a signage project is only to be awarded funding if it is part of a larger project. 

Those looking for assistance in designing a project to be eligible for the program should contact the city of Banks by August 17 for free assistance from the city planner. Applications are due Monday, August 31 at 5 p.m. Contact the city of Banks at 503-324-5512.

Further information can be found on the application for the matching grant program

Chas Hundley contributed to this story

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