What's Happening In Oak Ridge?!
The Tennessee Department of Health has updated the Tennessee COVID- 19 Vaccination Plan and its phased approach to administering COVID-19 vaccines to Tennesseans.

The public health situation is rapidly changing, below are the latest updates affecting city facilities.

Due to the significant increase in COVID cases, City officials strongly urge citizens to conduct their business over the phone and by mail whenever possible.

The City of Oak Ridge is supporting the “Tennessee Pledge” efforts by the state government. Please refer to State of Tennessee websites for updates and advice on precautions to be taken by particular businesses.

City facilities will continue to be operated as below as precautions and security matters are considered for the safety of our employees and “social distancing” for our customers. Visitors may receive a temperature scan and inquiry about current health. Please call the City Manager’s office or department offices on the City’s website for further information.

Note: Financial transactions can be handled electronically and via mail. If you need to meet someone, you can call the department’s extension directly. Phone numbers are listed under each department below.
Vaccine distribution begins
The Tennessee Department of Health is taking a phased approach to administering COVID-19 vaccines to Tennesseans.

“COVID-19 vaccines remain limited at this time, and Tennessee’s allocation plan prioritizes those most at risk of illness and death from COVID-19,” said Tennessee Health Commissioner Lisa Piercey, MD, MBA, FAAP. “The plan also prioritizes critical infrastructure workers who have direct public exposure or work in environments posing a higher risk of exposure to the virus that causes COVID-19.“

Members of the Oak Ridge Fire Department have already begun getting their first dose of the vaccination.

For the Moderna and AstraZeneca vaccines, the two doses are given 4 weeks apart. For Pfizer's vaccine, the two doses are given 3 weeks apart.

Tennesseans are encouraged to discuss with their doctor if the vaccine is right for them.
Updates to the Tennessee COVID-19 Vaccination Plan are focused on reducing risks:
  • Risk to our health care infrastructure – keeping frontline health care workers at the bedside, while reducing demand on hospital capacity
  • Risk to individual health outcomes – protecting the most vulnerable Tennesseans first
  • Risk to our society and economy – preserving the workforce in our highest risk areas

Tennessee has updated the state’s plan based on new recommendations from the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices and discussions with Tennessee’s Unified Command Group and a stakeholder group of more than 30 partner agencies and organizations.

These phases, which are subject to additional changes pending further recommendations from the ACIP and other federal and state partners, can be found below or by clicking here.
In light of the recent record number of COVID-19 cases and related hospitalizations in Tennessee, as well as the Governor’s issuance of Executive Order 70 on December 21, 2020, and under the constitutional, statutory, and inherent authority of the Tennessee Supreme Court, Oak Ridge City Court adopts the following provisions:

All in-person proceedings in all state and local courts in Tennessee, including but not limited to municipal, juvenile, general sessions, trial, and appellate courts, shall be suspended from the close of business on Monday, December 28, 2020, through the close of business on Friday, January 29, 2021.

Please contact the Oak Ridge City Court Clerk’s Office at (865) 425-3536 to schedule a new court date and time. As a reminder, City offices, including the Court Clerk’s Office, will be closed for the New Year’s Day holiday on Friday, January 1, 2021.
Last month, three of our council members, Derrick Hammond, Chuck Hope, and Jim Dodson, were sworn back in after being re-elected in November. Council then voted to re-elect Mayor Warren Gooch and Mayor Pro Tem Rick Chinn.
Derrick Hammond
Chuck Hope
Jim Dodson
The City of Oak Ridge has named Travis Solomon as its new Fire Chief.

Solomon, who previously served as Oak Ridge Fire Department (ORFD) Fire Marshal, has served as Interim Fire Chief since former Chief Darryl Kerley’s departure in August. He begins this role immediately.

“Oak Ridge has always been the model and leading fire service. I want to continue that and enhance the services we provide to better our ability to serve the public,” Solomon said.

Solomon has served with the Oak Ridge Fire Department since February 2016 as Fire Marshal. In that role, he oversaw many procedures including inspections, plans review, fire investigations and public education activities.

On Nov. 18, Tennessee Governor Bill Lee appointed Solomon to the Commission on Firefighting Personnel Standards and Education as a representative of the Tennessee Fire Chief’s Association, Tennessee Fire Safety Inspectors Association, and the Tennessee Fireman’s Association. His appointment runs through July 31, 2026.

“Travis Solomon has provided solid leadership as Interim Chief since August and we are excited to announce his full transition to Fire Chief this week,” Oak Ridge City Manager Mark Watson said. “We have no doubt in his ability to lead the Oak Ridge Fire Department for many years to come.”

He was sworn in during the December 14 City Council meeting.
The City of Oak Ridge has appointed Senior Staff Attorney Tammy Dunn as the next City Attorney. 

She assumes her new position this week, when current City Attorney Kenneth Krushenski retires. Dunn, a native Oak Ridger, has been with the City’s Legal Department for more than 20 years, beginning while she was still in law school.

“Technically, I worked for the City even earlier than that. I worked at the Oak Ridge Public Library Children’s Room during my break between undergrad and law school,” Dunn said. 

She worked as a law clerk in the Legal Department for two years before stepping in as Acting Staff Attorney for six months before officially transitioning to Staff Attorney, a role she filled for two more years before becoming Senior Staff Attorney.

She was selected by the City Attorney Evaluation Committee, which came with many praises from her colleagues, council members and outgoing City Attorney Krushenski. 
“I couldn’t think of a better person to fill this position than Ms. Dunn. We have worked together for many years and she is more than qualified to take this on. I wish her the best and I am looking forward to seeing what new things she accomplishes,” Krushenski said.

Dunn said Ken has always made sure that she has been able to expand her legal knowledge over the years.

“He gave me opportunities to participate in litigation and allowed me the experiences I needed to prepare me for this new role,” she said.
Part of that means preparing her for what she wants the future of the Legal Department to look like.
“I would like to move the Legal Department together into the same space and the City Manager is on board with some reorganization within the building to accomplish that goal in the near future,” said Dunn. “Right now, our offices are separated, and have been for my entire career here, so it will be nice to have everyone in one place to foster teamwork since we will be hiring a staff attorney to replace my former position.”

Dunn said she also wants to put a focus on increasing the City’s and Legal Department’s technology when it comes to record-keeping.

“I am looking forward to digitizing more of our records to provide faster access for employees, implementing a plan for review and updates to the City’s codes, and working with the City Clerk on a citywide records retention and destruction policy to help address the City’s physical storage limitations,” she said.

“The City was indeed fortunate to have someone with the skills in Municipal law as those of Ms. Dunn. Her familiarity with Oak Ridge and many years of experience with major issues makes her the right person for the position at the right time,” Oak Ridge City Manager Mark Watson said.

Dunn has a daughter in the Oak Ridge School System and has lived in Oak Ridge most of her life. Her first day as City Attorney was January 4, 2021. Krushenski retires on January 8, 2021.
Individuals interested in serving on a City of Oak Ridge Boards or Commission must submit a completed 2020 Boards and Commissions Application to the City Clerk's Office in the Municipal Building by 5 p.m. on Friday, January 29, 2021.

All applicants must be residents of the City of Oak Ridge unless otherwise specified in City Code. The Oak Ridge City Council will appoint members to these boards and commissions at the Monday, February 8, 2021, regular meeting set for 7 p.m. For additional information and how to apply, contact the City Clerk's Office at (865) 425-3411.
The significance of the City Blueprint Plan, adopted in May 2019, is that it articulates the values and aspirations of the community and serves as a guide for improved growth and development. How do we know if the plan is influencing improvement in the community? The Oak Ridge Municipal Planning Commission is committed to reviewing and assessing the progress of the plan as well as maintaining community engagement. The Commission prepares the Blueprint Annual Report for this purpose. The Fall 2020 edition of the report is now posted on the Blueprint website.
The Fall 2020 Report includes the Planning Commission’s priorities for the upcoming year:
  •  Land Use Plan. Update the official long-range plan for physical development and services, and promote efficient citywide growth. (Part of the Comprehensive Plan.)
  • Guide Downtown Development. Review projects as transformation occurs, to ensure quality development and public space.
  • Capital Improvements Program (CIP) FY2022-2027. Prioritize capital projects that achieve the objectives of City Blueprint and policies of the Comprehensive Plan.
  • Continue to Update the Zoning Ordinance.
  • Community Outreach. Continue to engage residents, workers, and visitors of Oak Ridge.
The Oak Ridge Fire Department's Smoke Alarm Program is a service provided to the residents of Oak Ridge, funded by Grants to provide working smoke alarms.

Information can be found on the City’s website, or by calling 865-425-3520 to have an ORFD member contact you too set up an appointment to check or install new smoke alarms.

Remember the following safety tips:
  • Smoke alarms should be located inside and outside each bedroom or sleeping area.
  • Smoke alarms should be located on every level of the home including the basement
  • Test all smoke alarms once a month by pressing the test button
  • Keep smoke alarms at least 10 feet away from the stove
  • All smoke alarms should be replaced if they are greater than 10 years old.
Those looking to get rid of their live Christmas trees can take them to the parking lot at Big Turtle Park or the Waste Connections Warehouse Road Convenience Center. 

When you pull into the Big Turtle Park parking lot, there are signs that say where to leave the trees and where you can leave live wreaths. If you have any plastic bags or garbage to dispose of, please place it in the trash bin nearby and do not leave it with the pile of trees.

Please be sure to remove all tinsel and decorations from Christmas trees before dropping them off for recycling. Wreaths and garland will also be accepted, but no brush. 

Trees are also accepted at the Waste Connections Convenience Center at 400 Warehouse Road through the end of January.

For more information, contact Waste Connections of Tennessee at (865) 482-3656.
The Healthy Waters Program is proud to welcome its newest AmeriCorps member, Abbie Broersma.

Abbie is from Cadillac, MI. She just graduated from Alma College of Alma, MI with a Bachelor’s degree in Environmental Studies-Science. In college, she partook in an assessment of the Chippewa and Pine River Watersheds prior to the placement of a hog CAFO working with the Sierra Club of Michigan. Through her college experiences, she has developed a greater appreciation for the environment and looks forward to continuing learning and sharing with others as she begins a new stage of her life in Oak Ridge. 

For more information from the Healthy Waters Program, subscribe to their newsletter!
All City of Oak Ridge administrative offices will be closed on Monday, January 18, in observance of Martin Luther King Jr. Day. Household trash and recycling will be picked up as scheduled.
If you've visited Melton Lake Park in the last couple of months, you likely noticed a new piece of artwork developing on the side of the Rowing Association's boathouse.

The mural, which was painted by local artist Megan Lingerfelt, was completed last month and the moment was marked with a ribbon-cutting. She worked with Explore Oak Ridge and several other members of the Oak Ridge community to come up with the design and bring it to life.

Stop by to see it for yourself and take a closer look at the incredible details!
Have a picture you'd like to see featured in our monthly newsletter? Send it our way! Email it: Communications@oakridgetn.gov.

Text us! Send ‘Hi’ to (865) 328-9700. From there, you can report an issue, send your photo or text us a keyword for more information.
City of Oak Ridge
200 South Tulane Avenue 
Oak Ridge, TN 37830