News & Information from the City of Albany, Oregon

Fire season in effect, vegetation abatement required

Albany Fire Chief John Bradner declared July 9, 2014, the start of fire season due to ongoing hot, dry weather.


During fire season, weeds, grass, and other noxious vegetation that have been determined to be a fire hazard must be addressed to reduce the potential for fire in accordance with Albany Municipal Code 7.84.160.  To report a vegetation fire hazard in Albany, use the online form or call 541-791-0155. 

Preparation can protect homes from wildfire risk


Benton County and wildfire safety experts from the National Fire Protection Association's Firewise Communities Program are encouraging residents to prepare their homes for wildfire season.


Wildfires have damaged thousands of acres in the Pacific Northwest already this year.  National trends show that wildfire risk and the size of many wildfires are growing.  Due to increasing wildland fire activity over the past decade, NFPA experts and Benton County leaders continue engaging with residents and communities about what they can do to prepare before a wildfire strikes their areas.  Wildfires do not have to burn everything in their paths.  Following are some tips to help prevent and protect against wildfire:

  • Outdoor burn bans are in effect.  Trash and debris should not be burned when conditions are dry or windy.  Unsafe burning of leaves, brush, household garbage, and other debris is a main cause of wildfire.
  • When camping or hunting, check local restrictions on campfires.  Use an approved gas stove as an alternative for heating and cooking.  If charcoal grills are permitted, use them only over fireproof surfaces such as asphalt or bare mineral soil.
  • Dispose of smoking materials properly.  Extinguish them in an ashtray and don't throw them out the window.
  • Avoid parking or idling on dry grass.  Catalytic converters can get hot enough to ignite the grass.
  • Keep water available when using welding equipment or cutting torches around grass and brush.  A five-gallon bucket of water with a tote sack in it could prove valuable if sparks or hot pieces of metal catch nearby grass on fire.
  • Avoid setting hot chainsaws or other gas-powered equipment in dry grass which could ignite after coming into contact with the hot mufflers on the equipment.
  • Clear leaves, fir needles, and other debris from gutters, eaves, porches, and decks.  This prevents embers from igniting homes.
  • Keep lawns hydrated and maintained.  Dry grass and shrubs are fuel for wildfire.  If it is brown, cut it down to reduce fire intensity.
  • Remove fuel within 3 to 5 feet of structural foundations, including garages and sheds.  If it can catch fire, don't let it touch any part of a house, including decks and porches.
  • Remove dead vegetation surrounding homes within a 30- to 100-foot area.
  • Wildfire can spread to treetops. If large trees inhabit a property, it is important to prune so the lowest branches are 6 - 10 feet off the ground.
  • Don't let debris and lawn cuttings linger.  Dispose of them quickly to reduce fuel for fire.
  • When planting, choose slow-growing, carefully placed shrubs and trees so the area can be more easily maintained.
  • Use native and less flammable plants in landscaping.  The Pacific Northwest Extension office has prepared a publication with plant information, available online at

More than 800 communities in the United States - including three in Benton County - have dramatically lowered their risk of wildfire damage by participating in the Firewise Communities/USA Recognition Program.  For more information, those interested can go online to  Benton County residents can learn more about region-specific Firewise principles at

November election filing period August 5-20, 2014


Three seats on the Albany City Council and the Mayor's position come up for election in November of every even-numbered year.  Election Day this year is November 4, 2014.


Qualifications as prescribed in the Charter of the City of Albany are as follows:

  • The candidate must be a qualified elector within the meaning of the Constitution of Oregon and have resided in the city during the 12 months immediately preceding the election and in the ward he or she seeks to represent, in the case of Councilor, for a period of 90 days immediately prior to election.
  • Nominations are made by declaration of candidacy, signed by the candidate, together with a filing fee of $5, or by the filing of a petition containing the signatures of 100 persons having the same qualifications as the office sought and an acceptance of nomination by the candidate.  A person signing a petition shall sign only one petition for each office.
  • Nominations shall be filed on and after August 5, and before 5:00 p.m. on August 20.  Forms for petitions and declarations are available at the office of the City Clerk in Albany City Hall.


Political Signs


Political signs for measures or candidates on the November 4, 2014, Oregon General Election ballot may be posted on properties in the Albany city limits beginning Sunday, August 31, 2014, in Linn County and Tuesday, September 2, 2014, in North Albany in Benton County.


The Albany Development Code 13.320(9) says that signs shall be erected and maintained entirely on private property with the consent of the occupant of the premises and are limited to four square feet per face in a residential zone and eight square feet per face in a commercial or industrial zone.  Maximum height for signs is three feet in residential zones and five feet in commercial or industrial zones.  Billboards are excluded from the provisions.


No signs are allowed on utility poles or on trees, rocks, or other natural features.  All signs must be removed within seven days after the election.


A brochure containing all the rules for political signs is available online or at the Community Development Department on the second floor of Albany City Hall, 333 Broadalbin Street SW.


Violation of the sign code will result in enforcement procedures against the candidate or the property owner.


Elections Links

Police Gator takes officers into hard-to-reach places


The Albany Police Department recently acquired a John Deere Gator and trailer to help with the many transportation needs during parades, and large city events such as River Rhythms and Northwest Art & Air Festival, and at school and business activities.


Most often, the Gator is used to enforce alcohol and camping restrictions in City parks and on trails.  The Gator seats four, allowing police to transport prisoners or people with medical issues from remote trail locations and to assist with transporting officers and equipment in and out of remote crime scenes.  Earlier, park trail enforcement was typically done by officers on bicycles; that is still a practice, but when time is limited and a larger area needs to be covered, the Gator saves valuable time.


The Gator is also a big hit when officers are connecting with Albany youth.


The trailer, while purchased primarily to tote the Gator, is also used for hauling equipment needed for department training and can be used as a secure transportation option for large evidence seizures.


The Department sold its Harley-Davidson motorcycle for about $7,000 to help offset the cost of the Gator and trailer; the Harley had been used to promote the D.A.R.E program, which has been discontinued.  Cost of the Gator and trailer combined was about $12,000.


Graphics on the vehicles were done by Xtreme Grafx and designed to match current patrol vehicles.  The graphics identify the Gator and trailer as Police Department equipment at events and enforcement efforts.


"An additional benefit is they give us the ability to express pride in our agency and give our community some bragging rights when they see us representing them at various events," said Lt. Casey Dorland, who heads the Police Community Resource Unit.  "The Gator is another tool to address the needs of our community more efficiently."


For more information about the Gator, contact Dorland at



15th ATI Northwest Art & Air Festival August 22-24

Wrap up summer in Albany August 22-24, 2014, at the community's signature event, the ATI Northwest Art & Air Festival at Timber-Linn Memorial Park and Albany Municipal Airport.  This is the free Festival's 15th year:

  • More than 75 Northwest artists will display and sell their wares.  Art includes pottery, jewelry, metalwork, wood craft, paintings, fused glass, toys, and photography.
  • Local artists will demonstrate their skills in their chosen media.
  • Hot-air balloons launch at dawn each morning sponsored by AmeriGas of Albany/Salem. Rides are available for a fee.  Contact the Albany Parks & Recreation at 541-917-7777.
  • The panda balloon returns this year, sponsored by ATI.
  • The hot-air balloon Night Glow happens Friday night with music by Journey tribute band Stone in Love.
  • Tethered rides are available Saturday morning, weather permitting.
  • Live music performances, featuring professional and amateur talent from the mid-Willamette Valley are scheduled on the Festival Stage Friday and Saturday, sponsored by Oregon Freeze Dry.
  • From crafts, live demonstrations, active play, and the Reptile Man mobile unit, everyone in the family will find something to do in the locally owned Red Robin Family Zone.
  • Blue Oyster Cult and Bachman & Turner share the Oregon Amphitheater stage on Saturday. Fireworks over Timber Linn Lake follow the concert.  Admission is free, and all who attend will be issued a nontransferable wristband.
  • The Festival's Art of Cars show will feature Studebakers, Corvairs, Corvettes, orphan cars, and an open class on Saturday near the Festival Stage, presented by Lassen Toyota, Northwest Toyota Dealers, Toyota Moving Forward, and Let's Go Places and the Willamette Chapter of the Studebaker Drivers' Club.
  • Free Young Eagles airplane flights for kids ages 8-17 are part of activities at Albany Municipal Airport and are sponsored by Remax Integrity-Doug Hall and Team Pendley. More than 200 kids took these flights in 2013.
  • The Oregon Pilots Association annual conference coincides with the Festival with sessions for pilots and the public at the Linn Fair & Expo Center
  • Northwest wines and microbrews and international foods are available all three days. Gilgamesh Brewing will host a beer garden in the main Festival venue and, on Saturday during the main concert, in the Amphitheater.
  • Dry camping is available for RVs and tents.  Call 541-928-0911 to reserve your spot

Parking is $5 on Friday and Saturday and free on Sunday.

More than 50,000 attended the 2013 Northwest Art & Air Festival.

The ATI Northwest Art & Air Festival is presented by Albany Parks & Recreation and the Albany Visitors Association.  ATI is the title sponsor for the 15th year.

Art by Shirley Hilts featured in August


Multimedia Albany artist Shirley Hilts will display a retrospective of paintings and drawings at Albany City Hall through the month of August, 2014.  The display will include watercolor, oils, acrylics, and graphite drawings from her high school years through college and to the present.


Hilts loved art as a child and taught high school art for 17 years, mostly in California.  Since moving to Oregon in 1988, she taught adult watercolor classes at Albany Senior Center and Linn-Benton Community College Sweet Home Center.  She majored in art education at University of the Pacific, Stockton, California, and studied graphic design at University of California, Santa Cruz.


Hilt has exhibited her work in various venues, including the Watercolor Society of Oregon, Vistas & Vineyards, Corvallis Art Guild, and Albany artists.


The Albany Arts Commission coordinates and sponsors City Hall displays of art from around the mid-valley and the Northwest in exhibits that change every month, year-round.  Art work in a variety of media is displayed on both floors of the building and is available for viewing weekdays during business hours and a few evenings each month when public meetings are held.


For information about the exhibits and the Arts Commission, contact Commissioner Billie Moore, 541-928-6182, or Debbie Little, 541-917-7778, or . 


Albany's first First Citizen: Vincent Hurley
By Cathy Ingalls, Albany Regional Museum volunteer


Every St. Patrick's Day between 1932 and 1961, customers entering Hurley's Drug Store on First Avenue would hear records playing Irish songs; owner Vincent Hurley enjoyed celebrating his Irish heritage.  Both of Hurley's parents were born in Ireland and immigrated to the United States. 


For 30 years, the drug store in the 200 block of Southwest First, now Jordan Jewelers, was a community hub and the place to meet up with friends, says Hurley's daughter, Katy, 74, of Corvallis, who fondly remembers her father as a patriotic, gregarious, and caring man. 


"He loved to come out front to talk to his customers," Katy said.  "He enjoyed people and he always wore a big smile on his face."


Sometimes after closing for the day, Katy recalled her father took filled prescriptions to customers living in the nursing home on Lyon Street, where the overpass is now.  Helping people was a big sideline to running his pharmacy. 


In his store, Hurley installed a bench with a leather seat and back so people could wait for the city bus in comfort and out of bad weather. 


He also was civic minded and a big Albany booster.  In 1942, Hurley, then president of the Albany Chamber of Commerce, chamber manager Carl Curlee, and others decided that Curlee would use a flare and a red flag to stop a train traveling through Albany carrying a federal Bureau of Mines agent from California to Spokane.  The agent was scouting for a place to site a regional research laboratory.  City leaders wanted the agency to locate in Albany as a way to diversify the timber-based economy. 


Curlee got the engineer to stop and the agent onboard climbed down and after hearing the proposal, agreed to go with several men to check out a potential site.  The rest, as they say, is history. 


Hurley was born in Portland in 1904, one of seven children, their mother a homemaker and father a police officer, who later went to work for the railroad.  Two of the children died, and Hurley's mother passed away when he was three. 


Early on, Hurley, who had survived polio, decided to become a doctor and enrolled at Oregon Agricultural College in Corvallis.  Later he switched to the school of pharmacy, Katy said.  She doesn't know why her father chose to be a pharmacist, but she said the career move fit his personality perfectly. 


In Corvallis, Hurley met Hallie Jenks of Tangent, his wife to be, who also attended OAC and worked for the dean of science. To help pay for his education, Hurley got a job at a Corvallis drug store; after graduation, he purchased a drug store in Junction City, later moving to Albany. 


Katy says some of her fondest memories are of working in the drug store, seeing its wood interior, watching employees move about in their white coats, and checking out display cases filled with Helena Rubenstein, Elizabeth Arden, and Dorothy Gray cosmetics. 


Also for sale were wallets and leather goods, and there was a popular candy counter. 


"When we were asked out to dinner, we always took a Whitman Sampler," Katy said. 


The Hurley family that also includes Katy's brother, Pat, who lives in Lebanon, lived in North Albany but moved to Seventh Avenue and Broadalbin Street during World War II.  They moved so the North Albany home could house officers from Camp Adair and, quite possibly, to save money on gas.  They moved back to North Albany after the war. 


Hurley was a Rotarian, a Shriner, served on the Albany City Council, was twice president of the Oregon Board of Pharmacy, and was instrumental in getting water from Adair to the family property in North Albany, now known as Hurleywood.  He was chosen Albany's first, First Citizen. 


After selling his business to Don McMorris in 1961, Hurley filled in as a pharmacist throughout the mid-valley, fished on the Alsea River, and every Saturday morning could be found at an Albany auction yard buying books.  For some reason, he once purchased a hospital bed, Katy said. 


Hurley died in 1987 and was buried at Riverside Cemetery.  Another well-known Albany institution, Fisher Funeral Home, handled arrangements.

Training offered for Salmon Watch volunteers


Volunteers with an interest in or knowledge of fish biology, water quality, aquatic invertebrates, or riparian ecosystems are needed to help sixth grade students learn about salmon this fall.  Training is required for volunteers to staff salmon watch stations and will be offered at no charge from 9:00 a.m.-1:00 p.m. Thursday, August 21, 2014, at Hesthaven Nature Center, 8590 NW Oak Creek Drive, Corvallis.


Trained salmon watch volunteers will participate in a series of sixth-grade field trips September 15-October 3, 2014.


Preregister at

For more information, e-mail


The salmon watch training is sponsored by nine local wildlife, education, and watershed organizations in the mid-valley area.

Previous issues of City Bridges are available at:  
General Information: 541-917-7500
Mayor Sharon Konopa: 541-791-0300
City Manager
Wes Hare:  
Ward I Councilors:
Dick Olsen,

Floyd Collins,

Ward II Councilors:
Bill Coburn,

Ray Kopczynski,

Ward III Councilors:
Bessie Johnson,

Rich Kellum,

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City of Albany, Oregon