City Focus

League of Oregon Cities

The goal of our podcasts is to provide timely, relevant information to cities, legislators, media and the public by highlighting and focusing on specific topics in quick-paced, 10 to 20-minute segments. We will discuss policy, legal issues and advocacy matters in a relaxed, conversational style designed to inform and educate while doing so in an interesting and entertaining way.

All Episodes

The City of Mosier’s motto is Small Enough to Make a Difference and like many other small cities in Oregon, they have faced their share of trials in recent years, often rising to the challenge in unique ways. In this episode, Mosier Mayor Arlene Burns joins me for a conversation about her city, her intriguing personal history, and the test Mosier residents faced in 2016 when a westbound Union Pacific train derailed causing immense environmental and economic damage.

Aug 5

20 min 26 sec

The City of Prineville, like other cities in Oregon, faced unprecedented challenges over the past year and a half. In this episode, Prineville Mayor Jason Beebe joins us for a conversation about being a new mayor during this time and he shares some creative solutions that the city is working on to address issues that are important to Prineville and its residents. Prineville Chamber of Commerce

Jul 22

16 min 58 sec

In this episode of City Focus, Hermiston Mayor Dave Drotzmann looks back at the history of Funland park, how the community has rallied to rebuild it not once, but twice and what visitors and families can expect in the newly rebuilt park! Funland Playground Funland Playground Grand Opening - July 4, 20201

Jul 8

22 min 37 sec

As Oregon’s capital city, Salem has many things to offer its residents and visitors. In this episode, Salem Mayor Chuck Bennett joins us for a conversation about his many years serving the community he loves; about the challenges and successes he has seen as well as his vision for the future.

Jun 24

35 min 44 sec

The City of Gates faced many unprecedented challenges in the past year and a half and as a new mayor, Ron Carmickle helped to lead the city towards recovery and rebuilding. In this episode, he shares his thoughts on forest management and his personal story of loss, and of how he and the citizens of Gates are turning things around and striving for a bright future. 

Jun 10

37 min 35 sec

The City of Troutdale, like other cities in Oregon, faced unprecedented challenges over the past 15 months. In this episode, Troutdale Mayor Randy Lauer joins us for a conversation about being a new mayor during this time and what he is doing for his city to support citizens and businesses.  

May 27

20 min 21 sec

Christy manages the internal services of the LOC and provides oversight to member services. In this conversation, LOC’s newest team member discusses her vision and goals as Operations & Member Engagement Director for the League.

May 13

14 min 48 sec

Baker City recently adopted resolution 3881, the first of its kind in Oregon, to directly address specific concerns related to state-mandated lockdowns and how they have affected the businesses and families in the city. In this conversation, Baker City Mayor Kerry McQuisten discusses how her city has been impacted by the COVID lockdowns. Resolution 3881 Email Mayor McQuisten 

Apr 29

21 min 15 sec

It has been a year since the Governor mandated state-wide COVID lockdowns and as cities across Oregon have complied, many have grappled with the challenges of safeguarding their communities and keeping their local businesses vibrant and successful. In this episode, Sandy Mayor Stan Pulliam joins us for a conversation about his city and the efforts happening in Sandy to support citizens and businesses.

Apr 15

24 min 32 sec

In this episode, we talk with Dayton Mayor and Oregon Mayors Association President Beth Wytoski about the upcoming LOC/OMA Joint Spring Symposium. The City of Dayton, like other cities in Oregon, faced unprecedented challenges last year. Mayor Wytoski shares stories about how her city employed unique and creative ways to deal with the many challenges her community faced and how they will use what they learned in 2020 to start planning for spring and summer 2021. Register for the Spring Symposium and view the preliminary agenda here. 

Apr 1

18 min 56 sec

In this episode, LOC Lobbyist Tracy Rutten Rainey discusses the League’s legislative priority on Water Utility and Rate Assistance. The LOC will work to identify funding for water utility ratepayer assistance and will work to establish a framework for the distribution of funds. Email Tracy 

Mar 18

14 min 57 sec

In this episode, LOC Legislative Director Jim McCauley discusses the League’s legislative priority on Disaster Relief and Recovery. The LOC will advocate on behalf of impacted communities for legislation that provides additional resources, efficiency in recovery and rebuilding efforts, support of long-term economic recovery efforts, budgetary flexibility, and re-investment in infrastructure lost due to wildfire, floods, and other natural disasters. Email Jim 

Mar 4

19 min 2 sec

In this episode, LOC lobbyist Mark Gharst discusses the League’s legislative priority on Property Tax Reform. The League will take a leadership role in forming coalitions with the business community and other local government partners to help draft and advocate for both comprehensive and incremental property tax reform option packages that are consistent with principles adopted by its board of directors. Show notes: Email Mark  2019-20 Oregon Property Tax Statistics

Feb 18

28 min 55 sec

In this episode, LOC lobbyists Jenna Jones, Jim McCauley, and Tracy Rutten discuss the League’s legislative priority on the Comprehensive Infrastructure Package. The League will advocate for an increase in the state’s investment in key infrastructure funding sources, including, but not limited to, the Special Public Works Fund (SPWF), Brownfield Redevelopment Fund, and Regionally Significant Industrial Site loan program. The advocacy will include seeking an investment and set aside through the SPWF for seismic resilience planning and related infrastructure improvements that will help make Oregon water and wastewater systems more resilient. Show Notes: LOC Legislative Advocacy City Day at the Capitol IGR Team Email Addresses: Jenna Jones Jim McCauley Tracy Rutten

Feb 4

32 min 38 sec

In this episode, LOC lobbyist Ariel Nelson discusses the League’s legislative priority on Housing and Services Investment. The League will support increased investments for affordable housing, homeless assistance, and related services including funding for shelter, homeless services, case management, rent assistance, the development and preservation of affordable housing, and permanent supportive housing. Show notes: https://www.orcities.org/education/training/winter-shelter-conference-call Ariel Email anelson@orcities.org Ariel Cell # 541-646-4180

Jan 21

24 min 50 sec

In this episode, LOC lobbyist Mark Gharst discusses the League’s second legislative priority, COVID-19 Economic Recovery, and Investments.  Cities have been on the frontline of the economic response to the pandemic, standing up programs for small business assistance and economic support for affected workers. Many cities have little or no ability to help residents due to COVID-19 related revenue losses (lodging tax, gas tax, park fees, development fees, parking fees, utility charges, and so on). City elected officials know the needs of their individual communities and want to partner with the state in helping our residents through this difficult time but need resources. Show Notes: Business Oregon Small Business Navigator https://www.oregon4biz.com/Coronavirus-Information/ Business Oregon List of County Grant Programs https://www.oregon4biz.com/Coronavirus-Information/ESBA/ Current CDBG Notice of Funding Availability https://www.orinfrastructure.org/Infrastructure-Programs/CDBG/NOFA/ Questions? Contact Mark Gharst at mgharst@orcities.org  

Jan 7

19 min 25 sec

In this episode, LOC lobbyist Scott Winkels discusses the first of six League legislative priorities for 2021 – Mental Health Investment. The League will advocate for adequate resources to protect and enhance the services available to persons suffering from mental health conditions. Links:  Local Focus from December 2014 discussing mental health Scott’s email address swinkels@orcities.org

Dec 2020

19 min 33 sec

We have been on a hiatus for a while and are delighted to be back in production beginning with this episode. Bridging the Rural/Urban Divide was presented at our annual conference as a panel session and we wanted to share it as a podcast too. So, join us for a discussion with two city leaders on reducing the divide between urban and rural communities and learning to work together for common goals.

Dec 2020

35 min 4 sec

In the latest episode of City Focus, LOC Executive Director Mike Cully and Dennis Lyon discuss the NLC Service Line Program by HomeServe. How does the program work and how can it help your city? You can reach out to Dennis at 412-266-9545 or via email at Dennis.Lyon@HomeServeUSA.com www.servicelinepartner.com  

Jul 2020

13 min 46 sec

In the latest episode of City Focus, LOC Legislative Director Jim McCauley discusses the role the LOC has played on a state and national level advocating for cities during the Coronavirus pandemic and subsequent economic calamity. Jim shares what the LOC’s advocacy team has been doing to support cities and assure city leaders have the information they need to make informed decisions as we move forward.      

Jun 2020

33 min 51 sec

Due to the Coronavirus crisis and the closure of our offices, we have put the creation and publication of regular podcast episodes on hiatus until further notice. However, by utilizing technology, we have published this special episode featuring LOC Executive Director Mike Cully discussing the unique and important role the LOC has played on a state and national level. Mike also shares what LOC staff have been doing behind the scenes to make sure that our member cities have the information they need to make informed decisions as we move through this challenging time.

Apr 2020

12 min 6 sec

It’s time for Inside the Capitol…your weekly legislative update from the League of Oregon Cities…and now, for a look at what’s happening this week in Salem here is guest host LOC Legislative Analyst, Jenna Jones and LOC Lobbyist, Scott Winkels.

Mar 2020

7 min 46 sec

It’s time for Inside the Capitol…your weekly legislative update from the League of Oregon Cities…and now, for a look at what’s happening this week in Salem here is LOC Legislative Analyst, Jenna Jones. Here are links to the items that Jenna mentioned on this week’s episode: SB 1530, HB 4001, SB 1567, SB 1565, HB 4079, HB 4071, HB 4070, and SB 1536  

Feb 2020

8 min 24 sec

It’s time for Inside the Capitol…your weekly legislative update from the League of Oregon Cities…and now, for a look at what’s happening this week in Salem here is LOC Lobbyist, Ariel Nelson. Show Notes: Here are links to the items that Ariel mentioned on this week’s episode: SB 1530, HB 4001, SB 1567, SB 1565, HB 4167, and HB 4010

Feb 2020

8 min 24 sec

In our latest City Focus podcast, hear the story of how two mayors – Beaverton’s Denny Doyle and Sandy’s Stan Pulliam – traveled to Washington D.C. to join forces with mayors across the country and effectively advocate for their cities at the federal level on key infrastructure issues. Show notes: USMayors.org

Feb 2020

31 min 35 sec

It’s time for Inside the Capitol…your weekly legislative update from the League of Oregon Cities…and now, for a look at what’s happening this week in Salem here is LOC Lobbyist, Tracy Rutten. Here are links to the items that Tracy mentioned on this week’s episode: SB 1530, HB 4079, HB 4043, SB 1536, HB 4001, SB 1567, SB 1565, HB 4149, and HB 4103

Feb 2020

7 min

It’s time for Inside the Capitol…your weekly legislative update from the League of Oregon Cities…and now, for a look at what’s happening this week in Salem here is LOC Lobbyist, Mark Gharst. Here are links to the items that Mark mentioned in this week’s episode: SB 1530, HB 4079, SB 1525, HB 4043, SB 1536, HB 4001, SB 1567, SB 1565 and SB 1541

Feb 2020

8 min 34 sec

In our latest episode, Keizer Mayor Cathy Clarks sits down for a personal conversation about her local government journey, receiving the James C. Richards award for leadership, and what she sees on the horizon for the city of Keizer. Show notes: Link to EP 15 – Mid-Willamette Valley Homelessness Initiative podcast

Feb 2020

30 min 35 sec

Recently, the Oregon Legislature completed their final “legislative days” in advance of the short session that starts February 3.  This session is confined to 35 days, which means it concludes on March 8. Legislative days represents the final check-in on priority bills from both chambers and party leadership. The LOC’s priorities for 2020 remain an extension of the 2019 priorities set by the League’s eight policy committees. During the short session, the LOC government relations team will focus on: A broadband bill, LC 1(a rerun of HB 2184 that did not pass in 2019); Additional mental health resources; Water quality infrastructure funding; and  Working with the governor’s office on wildland fire preparedness. LOC’s government relations team has already met with all levels of leadership to share city priorities, including budget requests. A small group of city leaders recently joined LOC Executive Director Mike Cully and Legislative Director Jim McCauley this week for a meeting with Governor Brown. In this episode of City Focus, Legislative Director Jim McCauley breaks down the LOC’s 2020 priorities and explains what cities might expect from this short session. Show Notes: Jim McCauley, Legislative Director LOC Legislative Advocacy Staff Contacts

Jan 2020

15 min 15 sec

In our latest City Focus podcast, we take a look at the results of our 2018 survey of 384 responses from individuals who have chosen to represent their cities as Mayors and Councilors. City Elected Official Demographics Survey Report Email Paul 

Jan 2020

34 min 5 sec

Charges for the use of a city’s right of way take many forms and are often dependent on a city’s size, location, and history.  In general, larger cities and those in the Metro region tend to have the most complex franchise agreements, as well as the most unique sources of franchise revenue.  Universally, however, franchises represent an essential revenue source for all Oregon cities. In this episode of City Focus LOC IGR Director Jim McCauley joins Paul Aljets from Aljets Consulting for a discussion on utility franchise agreements. Show Notes:  Franchise Fee Survey LOC Data Sets Email City Focus Email Paul Aljets Email Jim McCauley

Dec 2019

29 min 44 sec

In this episode of City Focus LOC Executive Director Mike Cully joins Paul Aljets from Aljets Consulting for a discussion on City Financial Data from CAFRs (or Comprehensive Annual Financial Reports) as well as the upcoming Census in 2020. Mike and Paul breakdown the numbers and drill down into some specific data points to get to the story behind the numbers.  Show Notes: City Financial Data from CAFRs Now on LOC-Data Census 2020 Email City Focus Email Paul Aljets Email Mike Cully

Dec 2019

32 min 30 sec

For three days in late October, LOC staff accompanied and supported board members in Washington, D.C as they advocated for city priorities at the federal level. These issues included: comprehensive infrastructure investment, FAST Act reauthorization, affordable housing, and broadband investment and policy. LOC Legislative Director Jim McCauley and Legislative Analyst Jenna Jones were among the team that visited our nation’s capital and they give us a review and some highlights of this very fruitful trip.

Nov 2019

19 min 19 sec

On this episode, I’m joined in the studio by Katie Kammer, Pre-loss Attorney and host of Kammersations the Podcast for CIS for a fascinating conversation about the laws that protect employees against harassment, discrimination, and retaliation. Katie is an engaging speaker on this topic and our conversation focuses on encouraging elected officials to think about what is appropriate versus inappropriate in the workplace. We look at what the current laws are and also what is expected in the modern workplace.    Show notes: Email Katie

Nov 2019

21 min 5 sec

In honor of National Preparedness Month, we are rereleasing Episode 16 of City Focus, featuring Emergency Manager for the City of Salem, Greg Walsh and Salem CERT Senior Trainer and Logistics Officer, Terry Pickett. National Preparedness Month is recognized each September to promote family and community disaster and emergency planning now and throughout the year. We discuss how the Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) program trains volunteers to assist communities when a disastrous event overwhelms or delays the community’s professional response. Show notes: National Preparedness Month Email Greg Walsh   Emergency Preparedness PowerPoint Presentation What is Moulage training? https://www.facebook.com/SalemCERT/ https://www.cityofsalem.net/Pages/sign-up-for-cert-training.aspx https://www.fema.gov/ https://www.publicalerts.org/community-emergency-response-teams-cert-neighborhood-emergency-teams-net https://www.co.marion.or.us/PW/EmergencyManagement/CCC/Pages/cert.aspx https://www.ready.gov/community-emergency-response-team

Sep 2019

35 min 21 sec

Named in honor of the wise words of President Abraham Lincoln, Better Angels is a national citizens’ movement to reduce political polarization in the U.S by bringing conservatives and liberals together to understand each other beyond stereotypes, forming red/blue community alliances, teaching practical skills for communicating across political differences, and making a strong public argument for depolarization.  Rather than asking people to change their minds about key issues, Better Angels provides people with a chance to better understand each other, to absorb the values and experiences that inform our political philosophies, and to ultimately recognize our common humanity. On this episode of City Focus, Cynthia O’Brien from the Portland chapter of Better Angels joins me for a great conversation about the organization and what attendees can expect from the Better Angels closing keynote presentation from John Wood, Jr. and Ciaran O’Connor on Saturday at our annual conference in Bend. Show notes: Register for the LOC Conference Better Angels PDX   ABC Nightline video Make America Dinner Again  

Sep 2019

33 min 31 sec

LOC recently administered a study on Systems Development Charges, or SDCs and found striking differences in city SDC implementation. On this episode Paul Aljets, from Aljets Consulting and Erin Doyle, former LOC Lobbyist talk about the survey and they breakdown the results for us in a relatable and useful way that will help to make sense of the data and how it can be used to help cities. Show notes: LOC research reference Aljets Research

Aug 2019

26 min 50 sec

On this episode, I’m joined in the studio by Angie Onyewuchi, CEO of Travel Salem for a fascinating conversation about tourism in Oregon. Angie is passionate about Oregon and our conversation focuses on how tourism drives economic impact in communities across the state. She shares examples of emerging trends in Oregon’s tourism industry and how Oregon cities benefit yet also face unique challenges with increased travel to our state.   Show notes: Travel Salem Travel Oregon IAAF World Championships Oregon21 Email Angie

Aug 2019

21 min 57 sec

On this episode, I’m joined in the studio by Kevin Toon, LOC Communications Director and Lisa Trevino, Project Coordinator. Together we give you a preview of to expect at the 94th Annual LOC Conference. We have an exciting line up of speakers this year, interesting tours and plenty of opportunities to network with your fellow LOC members.   Show notes: 94th Annual LOC Conference Kevin’s email Lisa’s email

Jul 2019

14 min 36 sec

Jake Boone, Cottage Grove City Councilor and Incoming 2020 LOC Board of Directors President, joins me for a great conversation about his goals for the upcoming year, how and why he sought political office, and his perspective he has how being a gamer relates to the world of politics. Jake’s Blog

Jul 2019

21 min 29 sec

It’s time for Inside the Capitol…your weekly legislative update from the League of Oregon Cities…and now, for a wrap up of the 2019 session here is LOC Legislative Director, Jim McCauley. Here are links to the items that Jim mentioned on this week’s episode: Watch live and archived legislative video here, learn more about LOC Legislative Advocacy and find the latest LOC Bulletin here.

Jul 2019

18 min 51 sec

On this episode, I’m joined in the studio by Ruth Mattox, LGPI Senior HR Consultant for a conversation about pay equity as well as the many important HR services LGPI provides to members.  Show notes: Oregon’s Pay Equity Law – Technical Assistance for Employers LGPI – Our Services Ruth Mattox  

Jun 2019

12 min 12 sec

It’s time for Inside the Capitol…your weekly legislative update from the League of Oregon Cities…and now, for a look at what’s happening this week in Salem here is LOC Lobbyist, Wendy Johnson. Here are links to the items that Wendy mentioned on this week’s episode: HB 5006, HB 5030, HB 2377, HB 5005, HB 2445, HB 2164, HB 2005, HB 3273, SB 558, HB 2001, HB 2003 and HB 2420. Watch live and archived legislative video here and find the latest LOC Bulletin here.

Jun 2019

8 min 12 sec

It’s time for Inside the Capitol…your weekly legislative update from the League of Oregon Cities…and now, for a look at what’s happening this week in Salem here is LOC Legislative Director, Jim McCauley. Here are links to the items that Jim mentioned on this week’s episode: HB 2020, HB 2173, HB 2184, HB 2449 and HB 3273 Watch live and archived legislative video here and find the latest LOC Bulletin here.

Jun 2019

9 min 19 sec

Summer is almost here, and drinking water and algae blooms are in the news again. On this episode, I’m joined in the studio by James Watson and Mat Titus from The Prediction Lab for a conversation about harmful algal blooms in municipal water systems. They share how they assisted the City of Salem in dealing with last summer’s drinking water advisories and how they use mathematics and algorithms to predict future blooms. Show notes: The Prediction Lab TPL Presentation

Jun 2019

24 min 19 sec

It’s time for Inside the Capitol…your weekly legislative update from the League of Oregon Cities…and now, for a look at what’s happening this week in Salem here is LOC Legislative Director, Jim McCauley. Here are links to the items that Jim mentioned on this week’s episode: HB 3273, HB 2449, HB 2173, HB 2184, HB 2001 and HB 2003 Watch live and archived legislative video here and find the latest LOC Bulletin here.  

Jun 2019

9 min 27 sec

It’s time for Inside the Capitol…your weekly legislative update from the League of Oregon Cities…and now, for a look at what’s happening this week in Salem here is LOC Lobbyist, Erin Doyle. Here are links to the items that Erin mentioned on this week’s episode: HB 2003, SB 10 and HB 2001. Watch live and archived legislative video here and find the latest LOC Bulletin here.  

Jun 2019

7 min 22 sec

On this episode, I’m joined in the studio by Patty Mulvihill, LOC General Counsel and Jayme Hafner, LOC Assistant General Counsel for a conversation about the League’s Legal Services. Every day at the League we get calls from city officials who believe they are alone in experiencing confusion over municipal law issues. Patty and Jayme are here today to let our members know that they are not alone and that cities throughout Oregon can call the League daily on simple and complicated matters. Show notes: LOC Legal Services Legal Services User’s Guide Patty’s email Jayme’s email  

May 2019

13 min 27 sec

It’s time for Inside the Capitol…your weekly legislative update from the League of Oregon Cities…and now, for a look at what’s happening this week in Salem here is LOC Lobbyist, Wendy Johnson. Here are links to the items that Wendy mentioned on this week’s episode: SB 1049, HB 2005, HB 2016, HB 2174, HB 2408 and HB 2184. Watch live and archived legislative video here and find the latest LOC Bulletin here.  

May 2019

9 min 48 sec

It’s time for Inside the Capitol…your weekly legislative update from the League of Oregon Cities…and now, for a look at what’s happening this week in Salem here is LOC Lobbyist, Scott Winkels. Here are links to the items that Scott mentioned on this week’s episode: HB 2020, SB 2408, HB 2353, and SB 1049 Watch live and archived legislative video here and find the latest LOC Bulletin here.  

May 2019

5 min 31 sec