Amanda Weisbrod

Not much was on the agenda for Elgin’s City Council meeting Tuesday night, but updates on grant funding, flooding and the city’s Cleanup Day were brought to the floor. The council also recognized the winners for the annual “If I Were Mayor…” contest.

Shay Talley, who provides city engineering services through JUB Engineers, said Elgin has not yet received the block grant funding that is to be provided by Business Oregon because the city is still waiting on the contract agreement. This almost $500,000 grant, which was awarded to Elgin in March, will help fund the city’s sewer renovation project.

“We’re waiting on a draft contract from Business Oregon, but in the meantime, we’re scoping out the project and planning up front to get going on a design once the contract is signed,” Talley said.

Elgin Public Works Director Dan Larman said while the city’s wastewater treatment plant is “back to normal” after last month’s flooding, there is work to be done on clearing fallen trees, repairing roads and addressing damage caused by the high waters. Brock Eckstein, Elgin city administrator and recorder, said the city is still technically in emergency status because of the risk of flooding, but that should be lifted by next month.

Larman also reported a successful Cleanup Day, which is one day a year Elgin citizens can make trips to the city dump at a reduced cost. While there was a $5 minimum donation for each load, Mayor Allan Duffy said many generous people gave more than that to show their support for the city’s beautification efforts.

“The annual Cleanup Day always makes a huge difference in town,” Larman said. “I couldn’t believe the amount of volunteers I saw up (at the dump) — must’ve been around 50.”

Mayor Duffy was delighted to announce this year’s winners of the “If I Were Mayor…” contest, which is hosted by the Oregon Mayors Association and held in cities across the state.

Elementary, middle and high school students who participate in the contest are encouraged to explore what they would do for their town if they were mayor by representing their ideas through either a poster, essay or multimedia project based on grade level.

Kasey Morehead won the elementary school level poster contest, her older sister, Charlee Morehead, won the middle school level essay contest, and Maddie Larman, daughter of Dan Larman, won the high school level digital media contest. Each of the three winners went home with a $100 check and a commemorative plaque.

“We always get great posters, good essays and multimedia projects,” said Duffy, who then thanked several of the city’s sponsors for donating the prize funds.

Kasey Morehead’s poster featured several mountains, an American flag blowing in the wind, and the iconic Elgin seal which reads “Jewel of the Blue Mountains.” In the clouds above the mountains, Kasey wrote if she were mayor, she would “get better equipment for any sport... get better electronics for school education... do a service cleanup day every two months,” and more.

In her essay, Charlee Morehead wrote she would bring back movie night to the Elgin Opera House so big families like hers would have an affordable option for entertainment, and she would focus on trimming trees in town to increase visibility at intersections.

Maddie Larman’s video featured sweeping shots of the town and some of its most recognizable buildings, including the Elgin Opera House. She narrated over the scenes with her personal account on why Elgin was such a great place to live, and what she would do if she were mayor.

Kasey, Charlee and Maddie’s submissions will now go on to the statewide contest. Last year, Charles Monger of Elgin took second place in the high school digital media category for the statewide contest. Duffy said he is hopeful this year’s winners will also rank among the finalists.

The next Elgin City Council meeting has been moved to June 25, and its agenda will include setting the city’s budget for the 2019-2020 fiscal year.

See complete story in Wednesday's Observer