Attendees: Called to Order 2:00PM
Jim Larsen, President
Dean Richardson, Vice President
Glenna Larsen, Treasurer
Carol Brennan, Secretary
Helen Marston, Board Member
Marsha Harris, Guest
Les Adams, Guest
A quorum was established
Board Member Additions: Two Volunteer Home Assessors indicated a desire and willingness to join the Board; Marsha Harris (Ponderosa Pines) and Les Adams (River Forest Acres).
MOTION TO ELECT NEW BOARD MEMBERS: passed by unanimous vote.
Next Public Meeting: Scheduled for Friday, April 14th at 2PM at the Sunriver Library. Speakers will be Kevin Moriarty, Deschutes County Forester, will cover community grants, the Fire-Free program, becoming a Firewise community, and the Community Wildfire Protection Plan 5-year update. Corinne Heiner, Fire Adaptive Communities Coordinator, will speak on the Firewise Program and how to become a Firewise Community. La Pine Assistant Fire Chief Dan Dougherty will discuss the May Ballot Measure 9-157 regarding an operating levy to hire more firefighters and Emergency Medical staff.
Other Public Outreach: Attendance last year was poor, in part due to the pandemic, and in part due to inadequate advertising and notice. Jim suggested that we review a survey from 2019, where respondents gave topic suggestions. We will consider these topics for the summer and fall season, in addition to other suggestions by attendees at the April 14th public forum. The upcoming public meeting is advertised in the major social media outlets, to our newsletter list, on the UDRC website, and to the Chamber of Commerce. Jim will prepare a poster for Board Members to hang on neighborhood message boards. Carol suggested having a panel discussion with landscapers or tree removal contractors, to open communication lines and understand common problems/issues.
Defensible Space Program Status: The Reimbursement Program has received 42 applications for assistance (limited to $500). Five applications were rejected, 3 due to reimbursement in the prior year, 1 was outside the coverage area, and 1 gave an address that could not be verified. There are 20 openings left for the Spring allotment of grant money.
The Senior Low Income Program received 5 applications in 2023; 2 have work complete, and 3 are waiting for assessment. (Benefit is limited to $1,000 per household)
Home Hardening Program: This small pilot program received 16 applications since its inception last October. 13 applications have been approved, and 3 applications are waiting for assessment. We expect those to be completed within a week or two; snow is finally melting. If the 3 pending applications are approved, there will be 1 opening left. Time is of the essence, and we must have all receipts for reimbursement submitted no later than early June. The late winter has interfered with the program, and we may need to give applicants reminders to submit paperwork ASAP. (The program covers 50% of actual costs, up to $500, for approved home hardening projects.)
UDRC Grant Application Status: Jim has reapplied for the BNSF defensible space reimbursement grant. UDRC has not had a response yet. UDRC was not awarded any money in the CDWG grant first round. We have not received reviewer comments yet. No applicants in Central Oregon were awarded grants. Nationally, there were 525 applicants, and only the top 100 received awards. That is a less than 20% chance of an award. We know we lost points on the social-vulnerability scale (a US Census Bureau combination score based on income, age, disability, and language barriers.) We also expect a reduced score due to the lack of any wildfire having destroyed a significant number of structures within the last 10 years. Glenna checked around on which Oregon applicants received awards, and they appear to be focused in southern Oregon, where recent wildfires have significantly affected communities; Ashland, Klamath County, etc.
The UDRC received a $10,000 grant from the State Fire Marshal to support the Defensible Space Reimbursement program. UDRC also applied for grants to provide fiscal sponsorship for neighborhoods and defensible space assistance for low-income residents in the UDRC and La Pine CWPP areas. No response on that grant yet.
Assessor Recruitment & Training: In early March, UDRC will begin recruiting for volunteer assessors and hold at least 1 training session. Feedback for Assessors emphasized that they want to work in their own neighborhoods. The Board will target Firewise Communities, and recipients of cash assistance to reach a broader audience. The goal is to have assessors within each neighborhood, or group of smaller neighborhoods. Training will be revised to shorten the PowerPoint, and emphasize SB 762 requirements, as they are developed. Board members will submit ideas on Volunteer Appreciation events or gifts, to encourage membership.
CWPP Update: UDRC attended the first CWPP update meeting in March. In the meeting, the participants agreed to streamlining the process by having a UDRC addendum to a new Deschutes County CWPP. Since much of the work overlaps among the 7 CWPP’s in Deschutes County, and many of the recommendations for public education, evacuation, and wildfire prevention are the same, it would allow the fire agencies and State Fire Marshal to avoid repeating the same boiler-plate data about historical fire, fire ecology, wildfire risk, etc. Under the new plan, the addendums for each CWPP area would update number of structures, population, peculiar risks, and area-specific recommendations for the distinct area. UDRC CWPP participants all agreed that resources would be maximized by going with the new plan.
The second CWPP update meeting is scheduled for April 17th, 1PM, at the Sunriver Library. Corinne Heiner is leading the meeting and update effort.
La Pine Fire Chief Candidate Screening Update: UDRC was invited to participate in a Community Panel that contributed it’s advice and opinions on candidates. Helen had volunteered to participate, but due to travel, Carol went in her place. This was the final round of interviews before the La Pine Fire District Board would make its decision. There were two candidates in the running, and both seemed eminently qualified. There is no announcement on a new Chief as of this date. We thank La Pine Fire District and Assistant Chief Dan Dougherty for including us.
Quarterly Financial Report: Glenna Larsen went over the financial reports.
All tax related documents are filed and complete. Since we did not have complete cop[ies, Glenna will email quarterly financials to the Board after the meeting. A motion to approve Financials will be taken up after Board Members review documentation. We will then MOVE to approve financials via email consent. Glenna spoke about some confusion about handling money and payments under a fiscal sponsorship. UDRC recently agreed to sponsor a grant to River Forest Acres, that mistakenly went into the HOA account. To keep responsibilities and processes clear, Glenna requested a sponsorship agreement form going forward. Carol will research and provide a draft form for review.
Vote to Change the Home Assessment Form: feedback from the volunteers was that they would like more white space, and to reduce the number of documents as much as possible. To that end, the Board took an informal vote of who wanted to change to the new State Fire Marshal – Project Wildfire form. Vote was in favor of adopting the form, but changing the logo to be clear on which entity is giving the Assessment. Jim will check with the State Fire Marshal’s local representative to see if it is OK to use the form. We hope to create consistency in messaging with Oregon fire agencies, while making it clear that assessments are not for citation or penalty purposes.
State Fire Marshal Sponsored Assessment Training: Heather Miller from OSFM offered to do Home Assessment training for south county neighborhoods on May 25th. La Pine Fire agreed to provide their conference room in La Pine for the class. UDRC will advertise and search for volunteers to attend training. Our goal is to get every neighborhood to send individuals who can serve their immediate neighborhoods. The meeting still needs confirmation, and then we will announce the session and look for volunteers.
Next regular Board Meeting: in late Spring or early Summer, to be arranged via email later.