The Cottage Grove City Council unanimously voted to approve an intergovernmental agreement (IGA) with the Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) during a city council meeting on July 27.
The IGA will allow the city to expand the wastewater treatment plant’s use of treated effluent for irrigation to the I-5 interchange at exit 174.
Middlefield Golf Course, owned by the city, is presently the only site used for such irrigation.
“Currently we’re using about 650 thousand gallons of treated effluent a day at the golf course and the former driving range,” said Public Works and Development Director Faye Stewart, adding that the city at times has more treated effluent than places to disperse it.
The city’s effluent, which has been treated to remove contaminants, currently has no long-term storage space and must be discharged by way of irrigation or released into the Coast Fork of the Willamette River.
With limited options, the city has run afoul of a few Department of Environmental Quality violations over the years, but it is hoped the extra 15 acres for irrigation at the interchange will help mitigate these issues.
Meanwhile, the construction of a 12-million gallon treated effluent storage pond and pump station is underway after the city was awarded a $1.3 million bid for the project last December, bringing the city closer to implementing a long-term solution to handling its daily flow of effluent.
Under the recently-approved IGA, the city will take care of landscaping at the interchange in a manner similar to the golf course, adding the option for beautification of the land with bushes and flowers.
“We can improve our entrance into our city by doing that,” said Stewart.
Councilor Kenneth Roberts commented on the possibility of the Coast Fork Willamette Watershed Council adding plants to the interchange which are native to the area.
“I like the idea of native grasses and shrubs and plants,” he said.
City Manager Richard Meyers pointed out that the placement of any large objects would likely be met with apprehension from ODOT.
“I think it’s also important to note that ODOT would be very reluctant to have any kind of structures or large trees or plants put in there just for vehicle safety,” he said. “That’s a place for vehicles to run into and not hit those things and slow due to wet ground or grass ... So any structure of substance would be something that they would probably be a little more apprehensive about allowing us to do.”
In other city council news:
Small Business Emergency Grant Program
The city’s emergency grant program for small businesses remains open as the city has yet to find awardees.
“We had five applicants,” said Meyers. “The first applicant was drawn and had a $10,000 grant, but they have declined the money.”
Another two applicants were determined to be ineligible as they had already received government financial aid and the last two applicants have not responded to the city’s attempted contacts.
“So the emergency grants are open again,” said Meyers.
A total of $50,000 is available in the grant program, half provided through the city and half matched by Business Oregon, the state’s economic development agency.
Grant awards range from $2,500 to $25,000, based on a formula from the state that accounts for employment size and COVID-19 related impacts.
Businesses with 25 or fewer employees are eligible, and only those that have been unable to receive federal CARES Act funding, including the Small Business Administration’s Paycheck Protection Program, Economic Injury Disaster Loan Emergency Advance program, or other federal programs for emergency pandemic funding to date.
Businesses are also required to use the proceeds for any business-related operating expenses, particularly to support businesses that were closed as they move into the first phase of statewide reopening.
“Historically disadvantaged businesses are encouraged [to apply],” said Meyers. “And also nonprofits can apply if they have been interrupted because of COVID-19 restrictions.”
The state lists Asian, Black, Native American, Hispanic and women business owners as historically disadvantaged.
The grant money and application process is managed by the community development financial institution Community Lending Works out of Springfield.
To apply or get more information, visit online at communitylendingworks.org.
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