Below are some interesting charts presented by the State Employment Department at a recent meeting of the Oregon Employer Council (Jackson Co. Chapter). The first chart shows a sharp rise in leisure and hospitality employment in Jackson County. We are now nearly at pre-recession levels.
The second chart shows airport passenger traffic. The blue bars in the chart are travel spending and, of course, we don’t have that number for 2013 yet. The red bar for passenger counts is year-to-date, so this also appears to be a strong indicator.
Finally, this chart shows Rogue Valley manufacturing employment, which appears to have recovered nicely over the last couple of years. While signs are generally good, Jackson County’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate in October – 9.5% -- was still considerably higher than the statewide rate of 7.7%. Signs are pointing to a recovering economy, but we still have a ways to go.
One more somewhat unpleasant side note from the storm: We discovered this morning that the roof of City Hall leaks. Water was coming in at a pretty good clip through the ceiling in the Accounting Division at the south end of the building and running down through the wall into a cabinet by the rear door in Utility Billing, where we also found black mold growing on the ceiling. We’ll get the roof repaired and work on what we need to do to remediate the mold, which can be a little more difficult to deal with.
IT – Information Systems
In recognition of the current network limitations and while planning for the current and future networking services, Information Systems (IS) recently undertook an internal assessment of the City’s network infrastructure. In the past month, IS performed two detailed walk-throughs and analysis of the network facilities in all City buildings. The effort provided valuable information and allows IS to create a detailed plan of how to bring the City network up to modern standards. The walk-throughs were divided into two phases, an evaluation of the physical layer (fiber and wires) and an evaluation of the data link and network layers (equipment and protocols). The investigation of the physical layer focused on identifying the improvements necessary to bring the wiring, wiring closets, patch panels, etc. up to modern standards. The upgrades to the physical layer will support the required network performance and capabilities associated with the upgrades to the data link and network layers. During the investigation of the data link and network layers, detailed designs/diagrams were developed to ensure the required network performance and capabilities will be met.
The data center/collocation re-design is fifty percent complete. The clean-up effort will reduce power requirements, improve air flow, reduce complexity, and improve troubleshooting all while providing a cleaner and more professional environment.
Friday, when the snow storm hit, was a scheduled training day for half of the department. Chief Holderness and Deputy Chief Falls were out of town that day so Sergeant Tighe O’Meara was acting Police Chief. As soon as he realized that we were looking at a major storm he canceled training and put all of the officers scheduled for training in the field to handle storm related issues. This gave us many more officers then we would normally have out and required the use of every vehicle in the APD fleet; most with two officers assigned. Even with all of those officers on duty, the department had 15 to 20 calls holding most of the night. The biggest issue was traffic accidents. There were too many to take reports on, but officers estimate that there were between 70 and 100 during the first six hours of the storm. This was a great decision by Tighe and a great job by all of the officers who were already working of who came in for training and ended up working a long, cold day.
Corey Falls was a big hit during his presentation before the congressional committee in Austin on Wednesday. Three police agencies were invited to speak at the hearing: Los Angeles, Austin and Ashland. Both LA and Austin talked about the importance of a victim-centered offender-focused approach to investigating sex crimes, but Corey was the only one of the three who was able to give specific examples of applying that philosophy to actual strategies to improve how investigations are conducted. He was also the only one who was able to talk about a significant increase in reporting. Several people including the Deputy Chief from LAPD and the commander of the Houston PD sexual assault unit, who was just there to watch, asked Corey for additional information on our program.
Friday, December 6, 2013