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City of Dillingham updates: New joint hazard mitigation plan and animal control issues

Izzy Ross/KDLG

The Federal Emergency Management Agency, or FEMA, approved Dillingham’s multi-jurisdictional hazard mitigation plan last year. Now, the city council approved it as well. City Manager Robert Mawson said at the council's meeting on Thursday that this is a new joint effort by the City of Dillingham and the Curyung Tribal Council.

“Before we did have one that was a city plan, and I believe the tribe had one as well. But they were independent of each other," Mawson said. "This one was put together as a cooperative between the city and the tribe. So I want to applaud everybody for that as well.” 

The new hazard mitigation plan assigns emergency preparation responsibilities to various groups and people, such as the city’s planning department and the tribe’s environmental coordinator. But Mawson said the two governments still have to solidify the plan’s details.

“So that we can make sure when things occur, that we know responsibilities for each person and we can also pursue grant funding and other sources in the appropriate fashion,” he said.

Read the full meeting agenda packet here.

The planning department is also working with a survey company, Edge Survey and Design, to create an easement for a cul-de-sac on the privately owned Sq__ Creek Road to improve maintenance after years of concern.

“We've been back and forth over the years with maintenance issues, and others to support city residents on that street," said Mawson. "A number of years ago, there were several efforts to get some easements on that road, so that the city was able to do some courtesy maintenance. It remains a private road, but with easements that allow us to go in there and grade, for example, and move snow, that type of thing.”

Mawson said those easements were collected from owners in a somewhat haphazard manner. That makes it hard for the city staff to know where they should go, which in turn makes it more difficult to service the road.

“Those easements were collected from owners and not always at the same time, they varied in width sometimes — where they started, where they stopped — we have a fairly continuous easement through there, but there are some areas that we do not have easements in. And we're not really sure on the ground where those easements are actually located.”

Mawson said they were able to work with property owners to trim trees and make it easier for city equipment to drive on the road and provide maintenance. He says surveying will allow them to place physical markers around property easements and have clear boundaries for city maintenance.

The city council also unanimously passed a motion directing the city manager to look into the animal control issues in the community. Residents Ronald and Liz Johnson introduced the subject during citizen’s comments. Mayor Alice Ruby said animal control is a problem throughout the town.

“I think it's a general problem in the whole community," she said. "It's in my neighborhood and your neighborhoods — everybody's. It's probably an education issue, you know, people just opening their doors and putting their dogs out.”

Ruby said it may be time for the city to spearhead another education campaign about the city’s animal control regulations.

“Maybe the education campaign needs to involve a few citations," she said. "You know, we've been through cycles where we got really tough on people and you got a citation if your dog is loose.” 

The city council also approved Jacy Olsen as a corrections officer with the police department. Olsen’s sister-in-law Matrona Jenkins is the corrections sergeant, so the council needed to waive the nepotism section of the city’s personnel regulations. This hire brings the correction staff to three officers. The police department has been understaffed for two years but the city manager hopes the new hire will help keep the city’s jail open and operational.

Get in touch with the author at or 907-842-2200.

Izzy Ross is the news director at KDLG, the NPR member station in Dillingham. She reports, edits, and hosts stories from around the Bristol Bay region, and collaborates with other radio stations across the state.