Without a word and in less than a blink of an eye, councilors paid $626,000 to three law firms for defense of the city in pending litigation. The shell-out was among dozens of other items on the consent agenda at the short April 4 meeting. Along with the legal bucks, the Council approved $122,000 for repainting the Dave Dekker artwork on the Montaño Bridge to restore its vibrant colors. After asking for bids, Bob’s Painting was selected to get the contract, which is paid for by the 1 percent for the arts general obligation bonds from 2009. Bob’s painted the original mural in 1997 and will work again with Dekker on the artwork. Repainting should begin any day now and last through early April, depending on weather.Councilor and cyclist Isaac Benton was pleased to announce the state Legislature passed a bill similar to Albuquerque’s, which requires vehicles to give bikes a 5-foot berth when passing. He extolled the many health, economic and environmental benefits“Competing with vehicles for the road keeps you humble,” Benton said, encouraging everyone to ride a bike. He said a new Portland safety study shows sharing the road with bikes makes streets safer overall. Downtown’s railyards could soon be looking a little bit perkier after the Council approved California firm Samitaur Constructs to begin redeveloping the historic area. Future negotiations will determine the scope of the project, and funding requests will come back before the Council. Benton said a railyard advisory board has been meeting for a couple of years. The board and Mayor Richard Berry met with the internationally renowned architecture firm during a selection process that also drew two other bidders, he said. “The railyards are one of the city’s most unique and special assets,” Council President Don Harris said.Councilor Rey Garduño sought to continue to allow free on-street parking for “green” vehicles (defined as hybrid, alternative-fuel or fuel efficient). Chief Administrative Officer Rob Perry said a financial impact study was done on the policy. “We are looking at about $42,000 in overall loss in revenue,” he said. “In these economic times, we would ask for a one year extension, then revisit the issue.”Councilors approved Garduño’s measure saying the reduction in the city’s carbon footprint was a good thing.
The next Council meeting is Monday, April 18, at 5 p.m. and is open to the public. Meetings happen in the Vincent E. Griego Council Chambers in the basement of City Hall at 1 Civic Plaza.