OROVILLE — A city with a bright future, ready to help its citizens and boost up businesses is how Mayor Chuck Reynolds described Oroville during his State of the City Address.To an audience of about 40 Thursday night in the State Theater, Reynolds noted there have been challenges, but they are being outweighed by the positives. Those ranged from a hard-working citizenry to a dedicated city staff to resources like nearby Chico State University and Butte College.
He applauded the $200 million expansion of Oroville Hospital, which will put the community in the forefront of health care services in the north valley, while providing well-paying jobs.The sales tax measure that voters supported will help with the year-over-year deficits caused by the economic downturn and demanding state. The estimated $4 million addition to the city’s coffers will result in hiring of more in police, fire, parks, trees and public works departments, he said.
Elected mayor by the voters, Reynolds noted there have been plenty of challenges in the short time he’s served on the council, but he said his optimism is strong.
“No success, none of it, happens as a result of chance but because of choice.”
Reynolds sees bright spots for Oroville in health care, manufacturing and services.
“Oroville has the necessary tools” to attract businesses that will provide more jobs. Reynolds committed to careful attention to business needs, saying if the city’s permitting process or wait times are too long that will be tackled.
As an indicator, he mentioned the launching of the new Chipotle restaurant which will be the first Chipotle with a drive thru in California.
One challenge Reynolds hopes to focus attention is Oroville’s inadequate housing stock, which is top heavy in “starter homes” with little in the middle range. He noted that coming residential project Sierra Heights will provide affordable senior housing.
Another involves Oroville’s young people. In 2016, Oroville, he said, had one of the state’s “highest rates of young people not going to school or not having a job.”
With the help of the community, schools, families, nonprofit and city leaders, that can change to create a robust workforce that will attract companies looking for skilled and talented workers, he noted.
And like other California cities, Oroville residents struggle with opioid addiction and homelessness. Reversing those trends will take resources and patience.
Regarding homelessness, he acknowledged contributions from the Hope Center, Haven of Hope on Wheels which provides shower and laundry services, as well as the Oroville Rescue Mission. All of which, he noted, need support from the private sector.
In addition to the mayor’s address, the evening included the awarding of the first-ever Voice for the Arts awards, and the annual Samuel Norris award.
Voice for the Arts AwardFor the first time, the Voice for the Arts Awards were delivered to an individual and a group.
Recipient James Christensen was honored for being an “avid supporter of young people and an appreciator of music.” A music instructor at Oroville High School, he was a founding member of Oroville Community Concert Band, and at one time managed the State Theatre.
As a group recipient, the State Theatre Arts Guild was honored for its work as “guardian of the theater,” from raising money to diversifying arts and entertainment available in Oroville
Sam Norris Award
Nominated by the community, the Samuel J. Norris Award for Excellence went to Orville “Bud” Tracy.
In his introduction, Councilor Scott Thomson called Tracy “an advocate, visionary, achiever and inspirational leader” for Oroville.
Named for a city engineer who contributed mightily to Oroville, the annual award is for improving the quality of life in Oroville, among other contributions.
Tracy was nominated for his many years of involvement with Oroville’s development, from attracting the Northwest Lineman College, to purchasing and renovating the Oroville Inn for lineman students and local events.
He was also acknowledged for his effort to form a downtown business improvement district.
Courtesy Enterprise Record Article