Banks, City Council, Government

WATCH: The state of the city annual address

Mayor Pete Edison stands at the podium. Photo: Chas Hundley

A full video of the address, filmed by MACC – TVCTV is below.

BANKS – More than 50 audience members filled the Banks Fire District 13 headquarters on Tuesday, March 5 to hear from Banks mayor Pete Edison as he discussed his views on the state of the city in an annual address. 

Many of those audience members were visiting dignitaries and politicians from neighboring cities and jurisdictions, including Steve Callaway and Teri Lenahan, mayors of Hillsboro and North Plains. Also present were representatives of Congresswoman Suzanne Bonamici, the Washington County Sheriff’s Office, Banks Fire District, Tualatin Soil and Water Conservation District, Banks School District, and Jerry Willey, Washington County District 4 commissioner. 

Edison gave a bird’s eye view of some of the challenges that Banks faced in 2018 before drilling down into specifics in a nearly 30 minute speech. 

“2018 was a very busy year for the city. We got into some things that we don’t have a lot of experience with, such as tree removal, residential development, and water issues galore. This created challenges, but I think the staff and the city council rose to the occasion and did some quality work and positively affected the state of the city,” Edison said.

After naming every city employee by name and length of time with the city and thanking them for their service, Edison continued his presentation with an overview of a series of projects meant to addressing the city’s continued struggle with their water supply and infrastructure. 

First up was a series of water and street projects throughout the city; originally scheduled to be finished in 2018, they will now be completed this year, according to Edison. 

Next up was the main water transmission line, a large project to replace a chronically leaking pipeline that loses at least 1.5 million gallons of the city’s strained water supply monthly. 

In addition to the physical projects, the city completed a handful of water studies designed to look at water storage options and an analysis of the current water available to the city, as well as identify new water sources.

And, covered by this newspaper several times, the city placed a moratorium on most new development to give the city time to deal with a projected lack of water. 

Moving away from water, the city explored their transportation system plan, including a handful of potential changes to a few key intersections, including the Aerts Road/Highway 6 intersection. 

“If all the homes build on the east side, that intersection will fail,” Edison said, citing a date of 2029 supplied by consultants to the city. 

The other topics Edison covered including less glamorous aspects of city management, including an asset management plan, an update to the city’s land development code, and plans to improve Greenville City Park. 

New for 2019

Many of the topics in this next portion were developed by the city council at a recent retreat held in February by Banks city council members, according to Edison. 

Earthquake preparedness topped the list, with a focus by a more detailed plan of action to help the city achieve a higher level of preparedness in case of a Cascadia Subduction Zone-level of earthquake.

Another goal of the city council was to improve their communication skills. 

“[We’re] creating a plan to increase the timeliness and quality of communication with citizens and the press regarding city actions and issues,” said Edison.

Other topics covered by the mayor included potential changes to system development charges, a shout out to retiring and resigned city councilors, future construction and infrastructure projects, the development moratorium in Banks, and more.

The mayor also recognized the visiting officials from other cities and local governments, including the staff from Banks Fire District 13, who hosted the event in their offices, as well as recognizing the Banks School District superintendent Jeff Leo, who was in the audience. 

Chas Hundley is the editor of the Banks Post and sister news publications the Gales Creek Journal and the Salmonberry Magazine. He grew up in Gales Creek and has a cat.

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