City of Tulsa

City of Tulsa

Tulsa's city council voted unanimously Wednesday night to extend the expiration date of the city's mask ordinance.

It requires people 10 and older to wear masks in public places and was set to expire at the end of the month. It will now be in effect until midnight April 30.

"This is so important to our city. We are not out of … our pandemic. Just because people are getting vaccinations does not mean this is over," Councilor Jeannie Cue said in a committee meeting Wednesday afternoon.

Matt Trotter / KWGS

After eight months, half-day furloughs every Friday have come to their expected end for hundreds of City of Tulsa employees.

The furloughs were implemented to help the city deal with with a $13 million budget shortfall. Mayor G.T. Bynum said current fiscal year revenue is staying within a range where extending the furloughs is not necessary, but he and the city council are gearing up for another budget shortfall in FY22.

City of Tulsa

The City of Tulsa’s housing policy director is leaving that job to make an interim role permanent.

Becky Gligo has been picked as the executive director of Housing Solutions, the organization leading work to end homelessness by members of the A Way Home for Tulsa Coalition. She’s led Housing Solutions on an interim basis the past 10 months while also working at the city.

Matt Trotter / KWGS

In a report from a COVID mitigation working group, as of Friday, the Tulsa Health Department is not recommending any additional steps from the City of Tulsa right now.

"They feel that we’ve taken the most action of any municipality, quite frankly, in the state, and we’re hoping to see more participation from our nearby partners," City Councilor Lori Decter Wright, a member of the working group, told fellow councilors during a Wednesday committee meeting.

Matt Trotter / KWGS

The Tulsa City Council wants to give the Muscogee (Creek) Nation two more years to decide whether it can commit $16 million dollars to building an Arkansas River Dam near 101st Street.

The deadline for that was Dec. 31 of this year. The council voted last week to extend the deadline to Dec. 31, 2022. Councilor Phil Lakin said the additional time will ensure everyone’s budgets have recovered from 2019’s spring floods and the coronavirus pandemic and will give Tulsa officials time to meet with Muscogee (Creek) officials about the matter.

City of Tulsa officials took their oaths of office Monday on an inauguration day with limited attendance because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Mayor G.T. Bynum’s uncle, Judge William LaFortune, administered his oath in Bynum’s office. It was broadcast online. After the two bumped elbows, Bynum gave a short speech calling on Tulsans to overcome divisive forces, especially as the city approaches the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre centennial.

City officials have gained some insight into how much the COVID-19 pandemic has dragged down Tulsa’s economy.

City of Tulsa Chief of Economic Development Kian Kamas told city councilors last week her team had started to see signs of slowing commercial development activity in late 2019.

"And in 2020 with COVID kind of in full force, we’ve definitely seen a slowdown in commercial activity. You can see in November, we issued three new commercial permits as compared to the 2013 through 2019 average of 11 permits per month. So, down quite substantially," Kamas said.

Matt Trotter / KWGS

Updated Dec. 7, 11:20 a.m.  

The City of Tulsa’s economic development team will roll out two incentives early next year to encourage business growth along bus rapid transit lines.

One program will reimburse city fees levied on businesses along Aero’s existing Peoria Avenue line and coming Route 66 line. The other will set up a revolving loan fund with the Tulsa Economic Development Corporation to offer low-interest loans to commercial and retail establishments.

The City of Tulsa’s Working In Neighborhoods Department is working on a plan to help guard against substandard rental housing.

It would accomplish goals of a landlord licensing program recommended by the city’s affordable housing strategy released in 2019. WIN Director Dwain Midget said they’re calling it a rental certificate of occupancy.

Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates

Another round of cost-cutting is underway on the Gateway Bridge, the Arkansas River pedestrian bridge set to be Tulsa’s newest landmark.

Tulsa’s Gathering Place LLC Director and Trustee Jeff Stava is overseeing the project. He told the Sales Tax Overview Committee last week that within a few weeks of the last round of bid openings in late September, two companies backed out, pushing up the total cost $5 million and setting the bridge to come in $4.6 million to $7.1 million over its $27.4 million dollar budget.

Matt Trotter / KWGS

The Tulsa City Council convenes next Monday for its inauguration, where all nine councilors will be sworn in.

Afterward, the council will hold a special meeting to elect the chair and vice-chair. Despite the worsening pandemic, that will all happen in the city council chambers.

Councilor Lori Decter Wright said they don’t have much choice.

Matt Trotter / KWGS

Updated Nov. 25, 12:40 p.m.

The City of Tulsa has implemented several new measures to address soaring coronavirus infection and hospitalization rates.

Mayor G.T. Bynum signed on Wednesday ordinances passed by the city council Tuesday night.

A global pandemic, social unrest, the killing of a police sergeant and serious wounding of another — in his fourth Tulsa Regional Chamber State of the City, Mayor G.T. Bynum told Tulsans they’ve been through a lot this year, perhaps even more than the first generations of Tulsans whose triumphs over adversity he often points to.

Matt Trotter / KWGS

Tulsa officials said this week new restrictions could be on the way to address skyrocketing local COVID-19 numbers.

Mayor G.T. Bynum and Tulsa Health Department Director Dr. Bruce Dart were asked Thursday about whether capacities at bars, restaurant, houses of worship and other places should be reduced. Dart said data suggest that might be a good move.

Oklahoma Watch

The COVID-19 pandemic has never been worse in Oklahoma, and at the end of this week, public bodies must go back to meeting in person.

A temporary change to the state’s open meetings act that allowed remote meetings expires on Sunday. That has state agencies and local governments trying to figure out how to meet safely.

Tulsa Parks

The City of Tulsa Parks Department held nine public feedback sessions last month to find out what residents think will make their parks better.

So, what did they learn?

Parks Director Anna America told the city’s parks board last week a major theme that emerged during the “Let’s Talk Tulsa Parks” meetings was safety.

Laurie Avocado

The coronavirus pandemic may lead to a new feature at Tulsa marijuana dispensaries: a drive-thru.

City Councilor Crista Patrick is pursuing a zoning code amendment to allow them.

Patrick told fellow councilors this week that in conversations with the Tulsa Planning Office, she found drive-thru service is currently prohibited because the city’s marijuana ordinance treats all businesses the same, which wasn’t a problem when it was written before the pandemic.

Matt Trotter / KWGS

Tulsa County’s active COVID-19 infections are at a record high, but the Tulsa City Council’s working group on the pandemic said on Wednesday no new restrictions are planned at the moment.

"What we saw roll out last March are the tools in the toolbox. Right now, the tool that we have that we want people to use is masking, washing your hands and watching your distance. We don’t want to limit gatherings. We don’t want to impact our community’s economic recovery right now," Councilor Lori Decter Wright said during a council committee meeting held virtually on Wednesday.

file photo

The Environmental Protection Agency has proposed updated rules to accelerate the replacement of lead pipes in city water systems, and City of Tulsa utility officials are wondering how they’ll comply if they’re adopted.

The EPA’s proposal would require a system inventory within three years of the rules being finalized. With current staffing, surveying Tulsa’s 160,000 connections is projected to take 41 years.

The rules are not clear on whether the inventory can be built on administrative records, which the city has been doing.

Matt Trotter / KWGS

City of Tulsa sales and use tax collections in the first quarter of fiscal year 2021 were $5.3 million ahead of conservative estimates in the budget.

If that trend continues throughout FY21, collections will be $7.5 million over projections, a good chunk of an expected $13 million shortfall.

But Mayor G.T. Bynum told city councilors on Wednesday he is not banking on that happening.

Matt Trotter / KWGS

Tulsa’s city council this week begins the process of officially adopting a plan to levy increased property taxes largely for housing improvements in north Tulsa neighborhoods.

The Peoria-Mohawk Project Plan would establish four tax increment financing, or TIF, districts at the business park of the same name. Officials estimate the increased property tax values they capture will bring in almost $43 million, and they plan to put nearly $35 million toward housing.

Chris Polansky / KWGS News

Tulsa County District Attorney Steve Kunzweiler said Wednesday that his office has declined requests from the Tulsa Police Department to bring charges against individuals alleged to have painted "Black Lives Matter" messages on city streets.

Matt Trotter / KWGS

The City of Tulsa could soon adopt a new special taxing district that benefits residents directly rather than a developer or company.

The plan calls for four distinct tax increment financing, or TIF, districts at the Peoria Mohawk Business Park, with one encompassing Muncie Power Products truck part plant to be activated immediately. Officials estimate the TIFs will bring in $42.6 million over the next 25 to 35 years.

Photo by Schnake Turnbo Frank.

The upcoming 2020 Homecoming Weekend here at the University of Tulsa will be, unfortuneately, quite different this time around, given the pandemic. But one Homecoming tradition that will continue is the designation and celebration of the annual J. Paschal Twyman Award. Our guest is the distinguished recipient of that award for this year, Steve Turnbo. After graduating with a bachelor's degree in English from the University of Tulsa in 1967, Mr.

City of Tulsa

Tulsa City Councilors are less than thrilled with the new Arkansas River pedestrian bridge after their latest look at it.

The Gateway Bridge will replace the old railroad bridge at Zink Dam. Previous renderings showed a structure built on a $35 million budget. That’s since been pared down to a design based on just the $27.4 million in public funds available.

At a presentation Wednesday, Councilor Crista Patrick quickly complained about the absence of shade.

Gardiner Gallery of Art at Oklahoma State University / OSU DEPARTMENT OF ART, GRAPHIC DESIGN, AND ART HISTORY

Who actually designed Tulsa's iconic Boston Avenue Methodist Church, that widely celebrated art deco structure within the city's skyline which was completed in 1929? Many architecture experts will tell you it was the well-known Tulsa architect Bruce Goff...but was it? Our guest on ST is Teresa Holder, the manager of the Gardiner Gallery at OSU in Stillwater.

City of Tulsa

TULSA, Okla. (AP) — A second search for the remains of victims of the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre will begin on Oct. 19, the city said Tuesday.

Excavation will take place in two sections of Oaklawn Cemetery, where two other areas were searched during the summer, with no victim remains found.

The next areas to be searched are one where a boy said he saw Black people being buried shortly after the massacre and another where old funeral home records indicate that 18 Black people were buried. / Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike

The Tulsa City Council adopted on Wednesday three changes to an ordinance requiring residents to wear masks to slow the spread of the coronavirus.

The main one makes masks mandatory for children 10 and up.

A waiver of rules to consider the changes on first reading, the changes themselves and an emergency clause passed on 8–0 votes. Councilor Connie Dodson was absent.

The city has required adults to wear masks indoors in public places and outdoors where physical distancing cannot be maintained since July.

Matt Trotter / KWGS

The latest tenant of the Cherokee Industrial Park has opened its doors.

Milo’s Tea has a 108,000-square foot production and distribution center there now. It’s the beverage maker’s first location outside its home state of Alabama.

It’s served by Tulsa’s municipal water supply, and the company famously took a tanker truck full back to Bessemer, Alabama, to test its quality in their products. Tulsa Mayor G.T. Bynum said he’s been asked why he’s so big on the Milo’s facility, which is in Owasso and is bringing 110 jobs there.

Matt Trotter / KWGS

A mixed-use project slated for the northwest corner of 11th Street and Lewis Avenue is in line for up to $5 million in public assistance.

ITulsa LLC is behind the $38 million development at the old Tulsa Welding School site, which will include 245 apartments, a parking garage with around 400 spaces and at least 8,000 square feet of commercial space. Funds will be paid out over 25 years from increased property and sales taxes after the project is built.