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CivicSpark and snow on City agenda

At the regularly scheduled meeting of the Portola City Council on Wednesday, Dec. 11, a few key items were addressed as the final agenda items of the year.

First on the agenda was the annual appointment of the persons to serve as mayor and mayor pro tem for a term of one year.

The City Council voted approval of this process March 13, 1999, with the usual process to approve the current year’s mayor pro tem as the upcoming year’s mayor.

This item resulted in the appointment of Phil Oels as mayor of the city in 2020, and Bill Powers to serve as mayor pro tem.

CivicSpark Climate Fellow

Sierra Climate Adaptation and Mitigation Partnership (Sierra CAMP) staff, along with Councilman Powers, have identified that Portola could benefit from a CivicSpark Fellow.

CivicSpark is an AmeriCorps program in which Fellows are matched with project partners (state, local and community-based organizations) to serve on at least one project, which benefits at least one local public agency.

Through project service, that Fellows gain hands-on experience tackling the most pressing environmental and social equity problems facing communities today. Projects are spread throughout regions across California.

While each project is unique, all CivicSpark Fellows provide support to local government agencies through a common four-step approach designed to help Fellows make meaningful use of their time within their projects, agencies and communities.

It is anticipated that the Fellow, Carissa Bradley, would help the city build capacity in relation to climate adaptation, mitigation and/or resilience.

Current discussions indicate that a potential project for Bradley to undertake is in regard to the community’s wildfire resilience.

This would include becoming more prepared for wildfire through Bradley’s undertaking work in emergency evacuation planning, coupled with community outreach and education.

Bradley’s focus on wildfire resilience will have a three-fold focus: Fuels reduction, an update to the city of Portola evacuation plan, and the development of an emergency guide for residents, modeled after the Ready, Set, Go program in Nevada County.

Snow Removal

City Public Works Director Todd Roberts provided a presentation on the city’s snow removal procedures and priorities, providing a venue for residents and council members alike to discuss the topic of snow removal within the city.

With new snow equipment on the way, expected to arrive in March 2020, the city has ordered two new plow attachments for the older equipment currently being used through the winter season.

Snow removal policy on city streets states that major streets, collector streets, areas around schools and emergency service sites such as police stations, fire stations and hospitals are the first priorities.

“Any heavily trafficked main street will take priority in the process of clearing snow,” City Manager Lauren Knox said. “We will keep the roads as safe and drivable as possible, and absolutely do what we can as efficiently as possible with the staff that we have.”

Homeowners and business owners were asked to take responsibility for clearing sidewalks and driveways adjacent to their property. “The city does not remove the berms from driveways or sidewalks, as it does not have the resources available to do so,” Knox noted.

“This is an important time of year to remember and try to help our neighbors in general, but to really look out for our elderly and disabled neighbors when it comes to ensuring that we all stay safe in the snow,” Knox added.

Depending on the severity of winter snowstorms, Knox added that the city may potentially implement a specific snow-related complaint line to ensure that all concerns are addressed in a timely manner if warranted.

In the interest of the community, the city asks that local snow removal contractors that may want to be added to a newly spearheaded referral list that the city is putting together reach out to City Hall at 832-6803. For more information on any items discussed call or visit cityofportola.com.

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