More than 1,800 respond to Albany Residents Community Survey


The results are in for the 2014 Albany Residents Community Survey, which was conducted February 4-10.


The survey results can be accessed at  Visitors can download the entire survey summary containing both graphs and data tables as a pdf.  The files include comparative graphs that show answers compared by gender, age of respondents, neighborhood, and other demographic information.


The survey was conducted online in English and Spanish; 1,827 responses were received by midnight February 10.  Invitations were sent to 22,772 e-mail addresses that the City uses for distribution of the monthly City Bridges newsletter.  Of those, 5,273 opened the invitation and 1,827 self-identified residents participated.  Based on Albany's population of 51,000, the responses provide for a margin of error of +/- 2.25%.


Here is some of what they said:

  • Residents generally feel safe or very safe both day and night in their neighborhood, shopping areas and downtown, but not in parks at night.
  • 34.7% feel unsafe or very unsafe from property crimes like burglary and theft, while 12.3% feel unsafe or very unsafe from violent crime.
  • Respondents had a positive view on shopping and services in Albany.
  • Younger people often disagree or strongly disagree with statements such as "Albany has an inviting appearance" or "There is a strong sense of community" than older respondents.
  • Rating "The value of services provided for the taxes/fees paid" to the City of Albany, 64.15% rate the city average to excellent, while 25.32% rate it below average to poor.  Those who feel the most like they are getting below average to poor value have incomes under $25,000 or $150,000 or more.
  • Services provided by the City of Albany are rated on a 5-point scale where 1 = Poor, 2 = Below Average, 3 = Average, 4 = Good, and 5 = Excellent.  Fire Emergency Response, Paramedics/Ambulance and Public Libraries received scores of 4.42, 4.38, and 4.34 respectively. The lowest scores went to Snow/Ice Response at 2.70, Economic Development at 2.78, and Street Repairs at 2.85.
  • Of 30 City service areas measured, 25 had scores of 3.0 or higher and five had scores between 2.70 and 2.99.

A detailed staff report providing more in-depth analysis will be delivered to the City Council in March.

Keep shopping carts where they belong


Shopping carts are a convenience.  Most who use shopping carts return them to the business as intended, while others use carts to move things to other places, then abandon the carts where they become an unsightly nuisance. 


Every Albany resident and business representative can take an active role in keeping Albany clean and shopping carts where they belong.  Under the Albany Municipal Code 7.84.210, businesses that use shopping carts are responsible for retrieving theirs that are abandoned.  Carts shall be retrieved by their owners within 72 hours after being notified that the carts have been abandoned.


Residents can call a business directly to request that carts be removed and can call Albany Police to report abandoned carts. When calling police, please provide the name of the business that owns the cart, a description of the cart, and where it is located. Carts that are not retrieved by the owner within 72 hours can be picked up by the City.  Owners may be fined $50 to retrieve each cart that the City collects.


If you see a cart that's not where it belongs, here are numbers and names for whom to call:


Shopping Cart Retrieval 1-888-552-2787:

Fred Meyer



Grocery Outlet


Northwest Food Merchants Cart Rescue 503-899-2475:

Fred Meyer



Call stores for direct pickup:

Walmart 541-971-4052

Target 541-926-5727

Walgreens 541-926-5214

Bi-Mart 541-926-6206

Mega Foods 541-967-7633

Costco 541-918-7040

Albany Police using social media to connect with the community


Albany Police Department is trying new ways to communicate and engage with Albany residents online:

  • The MyPD phone application provides access to a number of features including contacts, feedback, and tip forms; links to information about wanted persons and sex offenders; and allows APD to solicit the public's help in ongoing investigations and crimes.  Other access includes information from the Linn County Jail, Federal Emergency Management Agency, National Weather Service, and the National Terror Advisory System.  MyPD is available from iTunes or GooglePlay on iPhones or Androids.  MyPD was developed by the law enforcement technology and app company WiredBlue.
  • Facebook and Twitter are being used to provide information on wanted persons, crime prevention tips, events, and a look at APD employees. 

"Using current technology is a great way to effectively communicate with our community," said Sandy Roberts, Community Education Specialist.  "We can push out notifications to the public and our community partners have a variety of ways to contact us easily from their smart phone or tablet."


Facebook, MyPD, and Twitter each have APD's home screen with a variety of convenient features.  All are linked to eachother, so users can find MyPD the Facebook page and Twitter on MyPD.   

Emergencies should always be reported to 9-1-1 to ensure an appropriate and timely response.


For more information, visit or  If you have questions about APD's social media outlets, call Sandy Roberts at 541-917-3206 or e-mail

New Library programs for babies and toddlers


Nicole Kalita at Library's new toddler program

Albany Public Library is offering two new programs on Fridays for very young children at the Main Library, 2450 14th Avenue SE.


At 10:15 a.m., toddlers and their parents or caregivers are invited to enjoy 30 minutes of stories, songs, and activities to build language and literacy skills.  At 11:00 a.m., babies up to a year old, with their parents or caregivers, are invited for a 20-minute program.  Both sessions are conducted by Nicole Kalita of Linn-Benton Community College Parenting Education.


The Library continues to offer Family Story Time every Monday at 7:00 p.m., and Preschool Story Time for children ages 3 - 5 at 10:30 a.m. Wednesday and Thursday at the Main Library, and Tuesdays at the Carnegie Library, 302 Ferry Street SW.  Many of these programs include a puppet show or arts and craft activities.


The programs are free of charge, and no registration is required.  For more information, e-mail or call the Library Children's Desk at 541-917-7583.

Albany Parks & Recreation earns donations from Fred Meyer


Fred Meyer shoppers who use the company's Rewards card can donate to Albany Parks & Recreation Department programs every time they shop.


Each year, Fred Meyer donates $2.5 million to nonprofits in Alaska, Idaho, Oregon, and Washington, based on where the company's customers tell it to give.  Here's how to help Parks & Recreation earn those donations:

  • Sign up for the Community Rewards program by linking your Fred Meyer Rewards Card to Albany Parks & Recreation at  Search for Albany Parks & Recreation by name or use nonprofit number 91823.
  • With each purchase using the Rewards Card, Albany Parks & Recreation earns a donation.
  • Shoppers will still earn Rewards Points, Fuel Points, and Rebates.
  • Shoppers who don't have a Rewards Card can apply at any Customer Service desk at Fred Meyer stores.
  • For more information, visit

Do you need flood insurance?


Flood insurance protects you from the financial devastation caused by floods.  If you don't have flood insurance, talk to your insurance agent.  Even a few inches of water can bring thousands of dollars in repair and restoration costs.  Most homeowners insurance does not cover flood damage, and disaster relief funds cover only a small portion of flood damage.


Even if you don't carry a mortgage, you should still have flood insurance.  If you rent, your landlord is responsible for the structure but not your belongings.  You can purchase a separate flood insurance policy because Albany participates in the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP).  The premiums are discounted because Albany also participates in the Federal Emergency Management Association's Community Rating System program, which requires floodplain management activities above and beyond minimum NFIP standards.


Coverage applies whether flooding results from heavy or prolonged rains, snow melt, blocked storm drainage systems, levee dam failure, or other causes.  To be considered a flood, the waters must cover at least two acres or affect at least two properties.


Flood insurance is available for properties within and outside of floodplains.  A property's flood risk is shown on flood hazard maps.  Different types of policies are available depending on the flood risk:

  • If you live in a high-risk area, you will need a Standard Policy.  Most mortgage lenders will require that you have such a policy before they will approve your loan, including refinancing.
  • Outside of high-risk areas, flood insurance is also available, usually at lower cost.  A Preferred Risk Policy covers both a home and its contents.  While you aren't federally required to have flood insurance in a low-to-moderate risk area, it doesn't mean you won't ever need it.  Large floods often extend beyond the boundaries of high-risk areas, and smaller floods occur outside high-risk areas as well.  In fact, about 25% of all flood insurance claims come from low-to-moderate risk areas.


FEMA has the latest information about flood insurance policies and premiums at:  FEMA's "Answers to Questions about the National Flood Insurance Program" can be downloaded at


Preventing falls among older adults


The two recent winter snowstorms, complicated by ice and followed by heavy rain, created widespread public inconvenience.  Treacherous road conditions present a reminder of the danger, year-round, of falling, particularly for older adults.


Each year, one in every three adults age 65 and older falls.  Those falls can result in moderate to severe injuries and increase the risk of early death.  Falling is a public health problem that is largely preventable. The Albany Fire Department recommends this information from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to help Albany residents learn about falls and how to prevent them:

Annette Hobbs, Christmas Storybook Land honored by Human Relations Commission


Annette Hobbs, executive director of Fish of Albany, and Christmas Storybook Land, a free holiday attraction produced by dozens of community volunteers, received the 2014 Albany Human Relations Awards in January.


The awards are given annually by the Albany Human Relations Commission.  This is the third year for the awards which are intended for individuals and nonprofit organizations that further the Commission's charter:  "to promote harmonious relations among the citizens of Albany."


Hobbs oversees a staff of six and more than 30 volunteers in guiding Fish of Albany services, which include clothing, bedding, household and school supplies, and food boxes; medication for life-threatening conditions; emergency transportation and utility or rent payments; and providing supervised shelter for pregnant teens and new teen mothers and their children.


In a letter nominating Hobbs for the award, Janel Bennett wrote:  "Annette is a huge part of why this nonprofit can accomplish so much on a small budget.  She attends every can drive, packs food boxes, sorts at the Clothes Closet and keeps the organization running smoothly.  She checks in with Albany schools to see if any students need food for the weekend, shoes, a winter coat or even just soap to bathe with.  Every year, Fish is able to provide services to around 23,000 because Annette does the work of four people....For her it is not a job.  It is her passion and that is why she is so good at what she does."


Christmas Storybook Land was founded as a nonprofit in 1980 by three Albany families.  The seasonal effort is a family-oriented public display of characters and scenes from nursery rhymes, children's stories, family movies, and other popular cultural or historical periods, presented as a simulated walk through the woods at the Linn County Expo Center.  More than 400 volunteers of all ages are involved in creating and presenting the elaborate tableaux.


Visitors are encouraged to donate a can of food as admission; food is donated to Fish of Albany.  In 2013, 25,300 people of all ages visited Storybook Land, donating 18,700 food items.  Learn more about Christmas Storybook Land at or


The Human Relations Commission also recognized:

  • Fish of Albany for providing free clothing, food, crisis intervention, housing and support for pregnant teens and teen mothers with children, and help with transportation and critical medication to thousands of Albany residents each year since 1972.
  • Don Albright, one of the founders of Christmas Storybookland, past president of the Timber Carnival, and service with Linn County Mental Health, Fish, Albany Helping Hands, The Brass Ring Carousel, and many service clubs for more than 40 years; and
  • Gordon Kirbey, for more than three years, so far, as planner, shopper, chef, and supervisor cook for the weekly First Christian Church Community Meal.

Members of the City's Human Relations Commission and Mayor Sharon Konopa presented the awards at the City Council's January 22, 2014, meeting.

City Environmental Services, Albany Options School class featured on PBS


A video production crew with "This American Land," a Public Broadcasting System series, recorded an episode in Albany in the spring of 2013, featuring a bioswale project constructed by the ecology class at Albany Options School, with support from Albany Public Works Environmental Services and funded by a Captain Planet Foundation grant.


The class was shown working on the school's bioswale rain garden; and several students and staff were interviewed about the school's program, the student body, and the school's efforts as a "green" school to deal with water runoff and infiltration.   


The episode has aired on OPB Plus in Oregon and is available on YouTube at .

Previous issues of City Bridges are available at: 

Civil War cannon on display at City Hall


A six-foot-long, muzzle-loading cannon that Albany Unionists fired to recognize their victories during the Civil War is on display inside Albany City Hall, where it will remain for about a year.




A reception hosted by the Monteith Historical Society was held February 12, 2014, to celebrate the return of the cannon that had been lost to Albany for decades.


The full story of the cannon's history during and after the Civil War probably will never be known.


Some accounts say the cannon was stolen by piqued Southern sympathizers in 1863 then scuttled from a ferry into the Willamette River, where it remained until the Albany Sand & Gravel Co. fished it up in 1933 during a dredging operation.  The company claimed ownership, and the gun was kept at its business until it went to the post office, where it was fired once to inaugurate Oregon's centennial in 1959. 


Then the cannon disappeared, only to turn up in a shed in Lebanon when in 2011 its owner said he was willing to sell it to the Monteith Historical Society for $15,000.  The Society didn't have enough money to buy it, so the Tripp family of Albany stepped in to purchase the gun and asked that it be displayed at City Hall for a year in memory of Rodney Tripp. 


When the year is up, the cannon will go to the Monteith House Museum, 518 Second Avenue S.W. 


To ensure the cannon's authenticity, a photo taken after it was raised from the Willamette was compared to the cannon at City Hall.  The markings prove it is the same gun right down to a dent in its muzzle.


Prior to going on display, the cannon was stored at the City's Park Maintenance shops, where it was rubbed down to remove much of the rust that had accumulated over the years.


(Story provided by Albany Regional Museum volunteer Cathy Ingalls in commemoration of the 150th anniversary of Albany's incorporation.  Watch for more stories about Albany's first 150 years in future editions of City Bridges.)

General Information

Sharon Konopa

Ward I Councilors
Dick Olsen
Floyd Collins

Ward II Councilors
Bill Coburn
Ray Kopczynski

Ward III Councilors
Bessie Johnson
Rich Kellum

City Manager
Wes Hare