Is Umatilla’s Sixth Street dangerous for pedestrians?

Multiple residents and city officials raised that question during the regular meeting of the Umatilla City Council on Tuesday night.

Resident Phil Rand first raised a concern for better lighting at crosswalks in the downtown area.

“There are a dozen crosswalks in the downtown area where streetlights aren't bright enough that you can see someone crossing the street in dark clothing,” he said. “I think the city council should start approaching the state about putting in lights at, frankly, every corner… I think some day we're going to have a tragedy that could be avoided.”

Later during the meeting, Larry Nelson agreed.

“I've had occasions where people have stepped out of the darkness (on Sixth Street) . Someone is going to get hit,” he said. “It's dangerous, and it needs to be taken care of.”

Although officials agreed the city could use additional signs and lighting at city crosswalks, as part of Highway 730, Sixth Street falls under the Oregon Department of Transportation's jurisdiction. Audience members suggested drafting a petition from city residents to send to ODOT in support of increasing pedestrian safety measures on the road, as well as contacting state representatives for their support.

In other business:

The council set guidelines for the city's new small grant program. Grants will be authored by a three-member committee including two council members, those who are also appointed to the community development committee, and one community member at large from the city's urban growth boundary. The first round of grants, with an available pool of about $10,000, will focus on businesses that face Sixth Street within the downtown area — from the Umatilla River Bridge to the railroad viaduct.

Phil Rand, Keith Ames and Jack McWhinnie were appointed to the Codes Improvement Board. Rick Funderburk also had been appointed to the board previously.

Council members authorized city officials to apply for a Safe Roads to School grant.

The council authorized the city manager to seek a contract with Charter Communications now that the franchise with Almega Cable has ended.

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